Saints ready to rest North for Newcastle clash

George North played a key role in Wales' World Cup campaign
George North played a key role in Wales' World Cup campaign
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Saints are ready to rest Wales star George North for Saturday’s game against Newcastle Falcons at stadium:mk.

Attack coach Alex King stressed his club need to look after the 23-year-old after he played a big part in his country’s run to the World Cup quarter-finals.

North played in all but one game for Wales, who were beaten 23-19 by South Africa in the last-eight encounter at Twickenham last Saturday.

And just as they did with Tom Wood, who was given last weekend off after his England exertions, Saints are set to give North time to recover before throwing him back in.

“It’s a similar protocol with George,” King said.

“He has played four or five games on the bounce so we need to make sure he comes back here in the best shape possible.

“Each (World Cup) player is being treated individually in terms of how much game time they’ve had and how much it’s taken out of them in the World Cup.

“Emotionally and mentally, it is a tough competition so we have to make sure players come back in the right frame of mind and in the right condition as well.”

Wood, Courtney Lawes and Calum Clark could come back into the Saints squad.

Lawes has been nursing a knee problem, while Clark suffered a shoulder injury in the pre-season win at Wasps.

King said: “One or two come back into contention. The team gets finalised on Friday.

“Jim (Mallinder) has put a good squad together and we’ve got some good options.

“Calum is improving and the physios are working incredibly hard to get him back in contention for selection.”

Christian Day and Tom Stephenson, who were forced off in last Friday’s 13-12 defeat to Worcester Warriors, both attended Wednesday’s media day and gave an injury update.

Day said: “I’ve had a problem with my neck since I was quite young and it was a real bad stinger injury.

“It wasn’t particularly pleasant but hopefully it’s settling down now and I can be fit for the weekend.”

Stephenson said: “I injured my thumb the week before and then made it a bit worse on the Friday night.

“It’s not great, but hopefully I’ll be back soon.”