George North: 'We've earned our Rugby World Cup semi-final place'

By Dafydd PritchardBBC Sport Wales in Yokohama, Japan
Describe reaching the final? My vocabulary's not good enough - North
2019 Rugby World Cup semi-final: Wales v South Africa
Venue: International Stadium, Yokohama Date: Sun, 27 Oct Kick-off: 09:00 GMT
Coverage: Full commentary on BBC Radio Wales and Radio Cymru, BBC Radio 5 Live and Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, plus text updates on the BBC Sport website and app.

Wing George North says his World Cup form has been "mixed" but believes Wales are in a stronger position than ever to reach a first final.

Wales face South Africa in Sunday's semi-final in Yokohama.

North, 27, is Wales' third highest try-scorer of all-time with 39 but has crossed only once in four matches in Japan.

"Mixed if I'm honest. Obviously this is the biggest stage and where you want to be playing your best rugby," he said.

"I've not been playing badly but not to where I want to be.

"But to say where we are now in a semi-final and to be part of it is something special."

Along with Leigh Halfpenny, Jonathan Davies and captain Alun Wyn Jones, North is one of four players starting against South Africa who were in the Wales team which lost 9-8 to France the last time they reached the World Cup semi-finals in 2011.

That was a particularly agonising defeat, with Wales falling just short despite having captain Sam Warburton sent off during the first half in Auckland.

Since then, Wales have won three Six Nations titles - including two Grand Slams - and topped the world rankings for the first time.

Now, having beaten France in the quarter-final last Sunday, North thinks Wales are more experienced and better equipped than they were in 2011 to become the first Welsh side to qualify for a World Cup final.

"I think this one has got a better feeling about it," the Ospreys wing added.

"From our point of view, we're chuffed to be here, thrilled to be one of the last four standing. In 2011 we went into it as a bit of an unknown and got there by sheer determination and belief.

"This time it feels like we've earned our place. Obviously the France game wasn't as clean or as clinical as we were hoping but I think Biggs [Dan Biggar] said it: we're in a semi-final so from our point of view, we've got the belief to push on now.

"Any time you mention a World Cup, whether you've played in one World Cup or whatever stage you get to, is huge.

"But to get to a semi-final is massive. It's certainly one of the biggest games of my career and my life.

"Hopefully we can go out and perform and have an even bigger one next week."

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