George North: Northampton Saints becomes winger's 'home'

By Chris JonesBBC Radio 5 live
George North
North is already just four short of equalling his Premiership try tally of seven from last season

George North says Northampton has become a "home from home" after he began his second season at Franklin's Gardens in style.

The Wales international wing scored a hat-trick inside 50 minutes on Friday, as the Saints started their title defence by crushing Gloucester 53-6.

"After a summer away with Wales I came back and nothing has changed, I get a bit of banter still," North said.

"It's just brilliant. It's like a home from home really now."

The 22-year-old scored seven tries in the Premiership last season, but admits he fell short of his usual standards during his first campaign in England.

"Last year I found it quite tough to find my place in this league," he told BBC Radio 5 live. "It wasn't a terrible season, but one I wasn't impressed with myself really."

George North
North made 45 appearances for Scarlets before joining Saints for the 2013-2014 season

However, after starting the new season with a bang, North says he now could not be more settled in the east Midlands, as he moves into the second year of a three-year contract.

"I look at the squad and the set-up here and what they do - not only for me, for my whole family - the extra distance they always go to make me feel I am part of the team," he added.

"I'm really happy with my contract here."

North has played almost non-stop rugby for over two years, having toured with the British and Irish Lions in the summer of 2013, and then with Wales in South Africa a year later.

And he is conscious of the challenge of staying fit and fresh over the next 12 months, with the World Cup looming.

"Game one, I've come out healthy, which I'm happy with," he continued. "For me, this year is about making sure I look after myself after every game, get my recovery right for the next week.

"It is something that's in the back of your mind for sure. A World Cup is a massive honour for your country.

"But I think me and a lot of the boys will just focus on the year to come. If you have a good season now you put yourself in a good position for selection for the World Cup squad."