RaboDirect Pro12 review: George North’s star continues to rise

Wales international George North impresses for Scarlets as they beat Heineken Cup champions Leinster 45-20 in their opener

Sportsbeat
By Sportsbeat
wales six nations squad
North was part of Wales' squad which won the Six Nations Photo: WRU

wales six nations squad

Wales star George North once again demonstrated the kind of finishing that has made him one of rugby’s most dangerous wide-men – scoring twice as the Scarlets shocked Heineken Cup champions Leinster 45-20 in their Celtic League opener at Parc y Scarlets.

North, who played a key role in the Wales side that won this year’s Six Nations, was part of a destructive Scarlets back three that combined for five tries on Saturday evening.

Fellow winger Andy Fenby went over twice and the impressive Liam Williams added another – as Wales fly-half Rhys Priestland came off the bench to make his 100th appearance for the region.

The win – in Simon Easterby’s first competitive game as head coach – was the Welsh side’s first over Leinster since 2009, but came against a squad hit heavily by injury and missing eleven internationals.

In Jonathan Sexton’s absence, 23-year-old Ian Madigan kicked ten points for the Irish province and added a consolation try, but his side were overpowered by a focused Scarlets team that repeatedly turned down kickable penalties en route to a seven-try haul.

Elsewhere Cardiff Blues made it two from two in the day’s Ireland versus Wales match-ups, edging out Connacht in a hard-fought 13-9 win.

Phil Davies marked his first game as the Blues’ director of rugby with a win, behind the goal-kicking of experienced fly-half Ceri Sweeney.

Scrum-half Lewis Jones, 19, scored his first try for the club as the Welsh side took advantage of a strong wind in the first half to go in 13-0 up at the break.

With ex-Cardiff fly-half Dan Parks unavailable to make his Connacht debut, Miah Nikora took the kicking duties and, after struggling early on, hit three second-half penalties to restore some pride.

It was Munster who had the last laugh in the final game of the night, beating Heineken Cup semi-finalists Edinburgh 23-18 at Murrayfield.

Wing Tim Visser continued in the electric form he showed on tour with Scotland this summer, running in a hat-trick for the hosts, but it was not enough to overcome a confident Munster performance led by a 18-point haul from fly-half Ian Keatley.

© Sportsbeat 2012

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