Winger George North ‘disciplined’ by Saints for missing training session

George North
George North

George North has been ‘disciplined’ by Saints for missing training ahead of the Aviva Premiership clash with Sale Sharks earlier this month.

A club statement revealed that North has ‘accepted responsibility for missing a training session’, and that he has been ‘disciplined internally’.

Alan Gaffney

Alan Gaffney

North had become the centre of a club versus country controversy, with Saints interim head coach Alan Gaffney suggesting after the defeat to Sale that the Welshman didn’t want to play in the game, despite being available.

The player was reportedly unhappy with those comments, and said after scoring two tries in the win over Italy on March 11 that ‘it’s been a difficult couple of weeks, but it’s been good to be in camp with a real focus’.

North has been with Wales for the past two weeks on Six Nations duty, but he returned to Franklin’s Gardens on Monday for a meeting with coaches Gaffney and Alan Dickens and chief executive Mark Darbon, and it appears he has accepted he has made a mistake.

“George, Alan Gaffney, Alan Dickens and myself had a set of constructive meetings on his return to the club on Monday,” said Darbon.

“George accepts the disciplinary action we have taken.”

There was no confirmation of what the disciplinary action taken is, but there is no suspension.

North is due to leave the Gardens in the summer, after signing a national dual contract at an as yet undecided region in Wales.

There has been talk the player could leave the club earlier than that, with Ospreys reportedly offering the British & Irish Lions star the chance to play for them for the rest of the current campaign.

But Darbon ruled out such a move, insisting North will be staying at Saints until the summer, and will be available for selection for the club’s remaining five games of the season, starting with this Saturday’s trip to Newcastle Falcons.

“George has enormous affection for this club and its supporters, and is fully committed to helping the club finish the Aviva Premiership season as strongly as possible,” he said.

“We now consider this matter resolved and won’t be commenting further.”