Six Nations 2014: Wales ready to bounce back, insists George North
Six Nations 2014: George North says Wales are ready to bounce back from their Ireland loss against France next Friday
George North believes the squad know what needs to be done to turn around a disappointing start to the Six Nations campaign.
Speaking ahead of Friday’s clash against France at the Millennium Stadium, the Northampton Saints wing is the latest player to come out and reveal the squad’s desire to bounce back from a disappointing performance in Dublin last week.
I’m a big believer in sides being judged on how they react to set-back and the game against France is a chance to show how we can bounce back
But after an opening-day defeat to Ireland in last year’s championship, North was responsible for the only try against France in Paris last year in a 16-6 win which served as the catalyst for Wales to go on a five-match winning streak to steal the championship from England.
And the former Scarlets man expects a reaction.
“It’s important to remember that we proved last year that defeat doesn’t mean it’s all lost,” North said. “We have a lot to play for, we have made it more difficult for ourselves but we have to knuckle down, keeping working as hard as ever and focus on what we can do.
“We are an experienced squad that has already been through so much together and that means a lot.
“Reflecting back, we have lost just two of our last 12 games in the competition so our form has been good overall. We were outplayed last week but we know how to come back and know what needs to be done.
“I’m a big believer in sides being judged on how they react to set-back and the game against France is a chance to show how we can bounce back.
“It’s a sign of a good side to turn things around and bounce back and that’s what we need to do, we need to react next week.”
France will arrive at the Millennium Stadium later in the week full of confidence after back-to back wins over England and Italy.
But two consecutive championship wins over the French and a full house in Cardiff sees Wales chalked up as favourites for the Friday night encounter despite their poor start and fluctuating injury concerns.
North admits France will be a difficult encounter, but believes the passionate Welsh support will be a huge boost to help the squad get back to winning ways.
“France will be a huge challenge,” he said. “They have started really well with two wins from two and are looking good. They have got a big pack and a big scrum which showed up well against Italy last week.
“Their backline is firing well as well. Mathieu Bastareaud and Wesley Fofana are both on form at the moment and the back three are looking sharp and running in tries as well – it’s a very potent backline and we will have to keep our eyes on them.
“There is nothing like the Six Nations to bring out big performances and that is what we need on Friday.
“It’s going to be great atmosphere in Cardiff; there is nowhere better to play and an evening kick-off will just add to the atmosphere.
“The support is always outstanding. Obviously the fans will be as disappointed as we are with last week but when they get behind us on Friday it will be a huge lift to the team and will help us kick on in this Six Nations.
“It’s all about pushing on from here and that starts against France.”