Rugby World Cup 2011: North 'honoured' by Jonah Lomu comparison

Rugby World Cup 2011 quarter-final: Ireland v Wales

Venue:
Wellington Regional Stadium
Date:
Saturday, 8 October
Kick-off:
0600 BST/1800 NZ
Coverage:
Scores and reports on BBC website plus live text commentaries on all home nations matches; updates on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio 5 live; watch live on ITV1, live commentary on BBC Radio Cymru (Welsh language) & talkSPORT radio
George North and Jonah Lomu
George North and Jonah Lomu both impressed on their World Cup debuts

George North admits he is "honoured" at comparisons that his World Cup impact has been compared with the great Jonah Lomu's debut at the 1995 tournament.

Powerhouse Lomu emerged as professional rugby's first global star following his try-scoring heroics as New Zealand reached the 1995 World Cup final.

Lomu scored seven tries in South Africa while North has inspired Wales into this year's World Cup quarter-finals.

"To be compared to Jonah is a massive honour," said Wales wing North.

"To me personally, I don't think I've done enough to deserve that yet.

"Hopefully I can put in a few good performances in this World Cup so then to be compared to Jonah then - that is something I am still smiling about now."

Lomu burst onto the world stage at the 1995 tournament just days after his 20th birthday in his third Kiwi cap with a two-try performance to beat Ireland in their opening game in Johannesburg.

His bulldozing runs and blistering pace helped him with the top try-scoring award as New Zealand lost the World Cup final to the host Springboks.

Lomu, who scored a further eight tries in the 1999 World Cup, scored 37 tries in 63 Tests before his final All Black international in 2002 as a serious kidney illness prematurely ended his career.

North became the World Cup's youngest tournament try-scorer as he scored twice in Wales' 81-7 Pool D win over Namibia aged just 19 years and 166 days.

The Scarlets wing was 87 days younger than previous record holder Joe Roff when the former Australia wing scored against Canada during the 1995 tournament.

North's power and ball-carrying ability have earned him the favourable Lomu comparisons while he has shown a clinical edge as Wales' teenage sensation has already scored nine tries in 12 internationals.

He has helped Wales become the World Cup's second highest points scorers behind New Zealand and third highest try scorers behind the Kiwis and Australia.

But coach Warren Gatland and his coaching staff are ensuring North continues to work.

"As a modern-day wing, you can't always be on your wing because you want to get the ball," he said.

"Warren told me that if I'm stood still for longer than 10 seconds, then I'm not doing my job.

"I like to be involved, it keeps me entertained rather than being bored on my own. The coaches have given me that licence to have a run and really open the taps."

North is now preparing for his first "derby" with Celtic rivals Ireland in Wellington on Saturday.

For the latest on the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand visit our breaking news and gossip page.

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