Wales v South Africa: George North relishes Bryan Habana clash

Wales wing George North
Wales wing George North

Wing George North says he is relishing facing in-form rival Bryan Habana when Wales face South Africa on Saturday.

A teenage North made a stunning Wales debut, scoring two tries in the 29-25 defeat to the Boks in Cardiff in 2010.

North faced Habana that day and is looking forward to facing the 2007 World Cup winner again.

"He is a man always on form, isn't he?" said North, who became the youngest player to score for Wales on his debut, aged 18 years and 214 days.

"He is someone I grew up watching and I have been lucky enough to play against him a few times now.

"Hopefully, it will be another good challenge on Saturday."

North, who is still only 21, has emerged as a world-class talent since his first Test appearance for his country.

The 45-time capped wing has won a Grand Slam in 2012 and a 2013 Six Nations title and played in a World Cup semi-final with Wales.

He also played a key role in the British and Irish Lions' Test series victory over Australia in 2013.

North, who left the Scarlets for Northampton Saints in the summer, says he has fond memories of his debut with Wales despite the defeat.

"Obviously, it was a good day in personal terms, but again we were so close to winning that one. Hopefully, we can push on again," said North.

"I am a bit more experienced and a little older and a little wiser.

"I have learned my trade a bit more. I know what is coming and what is going on now.

"That was a new experience for me, but I am looking forward to the challenge because South Africa is a massive game for us."

Wales have only beaten South Africa once in the 26 meetings between the countries - the opening game at the Millennium Stadium in 1999.

North is aware of the threat posed by the Boks after watching the final game in the 2013 Rugby Championship.

New Zealand secured the title with a pulsating 38-27 win over South Africa at Ellis Park in October.

Habana scored two of the Springboks' four tries in that defeat before he limped off with a hamstring injury midway through the second half.

"It was one of the best games I have ever seen, it was a mental game," said North.

"The quality and physicality they bring, it is going to be a tough challenge.

"All the boys are ready for that."

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