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Wales star to hang up his Test boots at 31

NEWS: Wales centre George North announced on Wednesday he will retire from international rugby following this weekend’s Six Nations match against Italy, when both teams will be battling to avoid the wooden spoon.

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North, who has won 120 caps, said on social media that it was the “right to time step away”.

The 31-year-old, who has been recalled to the starting side for the clash in Cardiff, is second on Wales’ all-time list of try-scorers with 47, behind Shane Williams (58).

“I’ve decided that the game on Saturday will bring my international career to an end,” said North, who plays for Welsh regional side Ospreys.

“After 14 years it feels like now is the right time to step away. I have loved and cherished every second in a Welsh shirt and been able to play alongside some fantastic teammates.”

North added: “I’ve been very lucky to have lived my dream. I’m excited for the next chapter.”

The England-born player made his Wales debut as an 18-year-old wing against South Africa after making his name with the Llanelli-based Scarlets.

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The powerhouse back went on to tour Australia with the British and Irish Lions in 2013 and then represented the combined side again in New Zealand four years later.

North also helped Wales win Six Nations Grand Slams in 2012 and 2019, as well as the 2013 and 2021 Six Nations titles, while last year he appeared in a fourth World Cup.

Wales coach Warren Gatland, who gave North his international debut in his first spell in charge of the national side, paid tribute by saying: “George has contributed hugely to Welsh rugby in an incredible career, starting as an 18-year-old.

“The way that he burst onto the scene… I can remember seeing him play and thinking we need to cap this kid.

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“He’s been incredible as a rugby player, but I think the most important thing is how he’s contributed to the squad as a person over the years.”

The New Zealander added: “George has been outstanding and a credit to himself. He can definitely hold his head high. He and his family and friends can be very proud of everything he has achieved.

“I look forward to watching George play at the Millennium Stadium one final time in a red jersey on Saturday, and I hope everyone will join me in celebrating him.”

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