George North happy after 'tough' transfer from Scarlets to Saints

George North

George North says the furore surrounding his transfer from Scarlets to Northampton made it a "tough" time.

But the Wales wing, who was named in the British and Irish Lions squad to tour Australia, says he is glad his rugby future has been sorted out.

North had a year left on his contract with the Scarlets, but agreed a three-year deal with Northampton Saints.

"I am happy everything is sorted now," said North, who is one of 15 Welshmen in Warren Gatland's Lions squad.

"It was a tough few weeks for me and I just tried to keep my head down and concentrate on the rugby.

"I just tried to do that and let everything else take care of itself."

The speculation over his future saw North placed at the centre of a row between Scarlets and the Welsh Rugby Union over funding and players leaving Wales.

The 20-year-old, who has scored nine tries in the Pro12, had one year left on his Scarlets contract but was unable to agree fresh terms.

The Llanelli-based region have previously said they sought a buyer for North after he rejected a new three-year deal.

The Welsh Rugby Union accused the region of offering North to French clubs before the start of the year.

The accusation triggered a stinging response from Scarlets, who were supported by the other three regions in condemning the WRU for discussing North's contract situation in public.

North, however, has put the recent war of words between the Welsh regions and the WRU behind him and is focused on his new career in England.

"I am excited about the move now," said 31-times capped North, who played in all of Wales' games on the way to this year's Six Nations title.

"It's a big move but it is a club that is well renowned in world rugby. They compete regularly in most competitions and I am excited about the move.

"It was a funny one to be involved in but it's a new challenge, a new game and new squad members."

North, like a few of the players in the Lions squad who are moving clubs this summer, faces an interesting new development in Australia.

The young Welshman will be registered as a Scarlets player if he plays in the first two Tests against the Wallabies, but will be a Northampton Saints player if he plays in the third Test in Sydney.

"I have heard that somewhere," said North.

"I think Jamie [Roberts, who is leaving Cardiff Blues and expected to join Racing Metro] is the same because he is moving clubs too."

While North has experienced the highs and lows of being a professional rugby player in recent months, he is under no illusions of what it means to make the 2013 Lions squad.

"It was the best thing that has happened to me ever," said North.

"It is a massive honour and one of the biggest you can ever have in British and Irish rugby and it's the biggest accolade you can achieve.

"The British and Irish Lions is the highest honour and something I dreamt of as a boy."

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