Rugby World Cup 2011: Wales hint at George North centre switch

George North scores against Namibia
George North scores one of his two tries against Namibia

Warren Gatland has hinted George North could move from wing to centre at some stage during Wales' World Cup bid.

North became the youngest tournament try-scorer during Wales' 81-7 Pool D win over Namibia as he touched down for the eighth time in 11 appearances.

Wales coach Gatland said: "We did run him a little bit in training during the week at centre.

"Jamie Roberts and George North in the midfield - there wouldn't be too many players tackling that."

North emerged from the Scarlets Academy in the autumn of 2010 and made his Wales debut against South Africa in November of that year, scoring two tries.

The 19-year-old has since gone on to play on the right and left wing, but played much of his age-group rugby in midfield and scored twice against Namibia.

His double in New Plymouth, two of Wales' 12 tries against the Africans, meant North surpassed former Australian wing Joe Roff as the youngest player to claim a World Cup touchdown.

At 19 years and 166 days, North is 87 days younger than when Roff scored during the 1995 tournament in South Africa.

"He has got a massive future," said Gatland of the 6ft 4in, 17st 6lb player.

"I thought we saw his class when he came on [against Namibia] and the impact he made.

"He has only just turned 19. He's 110kgs. He has got great foot work as well.

"Potentially he is going to score a lot of tries. He was real quality."

North's form could soften the blow if record try-scorer Shane Williams is out of Sunday's final Pool D clash with Fiji in Hamilton as the Ospreys wing is, like James Hook, a major injury doubt.