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North 'disciplined internally' by Saints after missing training

Credit: PA

Northampton wing George North has been "disciplined internally" after missing a training session ahead of the March 3 clash with Sale.

Saints boss Alan Gaffney suggested after the Aviva Premiership home defeat to the Sharks that the 25-year-old Wales international, whose contract expires at the end of the season, had not wanted to play for the club.

Northampton said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon: "Following a meeting with the club on Monday, George North accepted responsibility for missing a training session ahead of Saints' Aviva Premiership clash with Sale Sharks earlier this month, and has been disciplined internally.

"North, who returned to training on Monday, will be available for selection for Saints' five remaining matches this season, starting with this weekend's clash against Newcastle Falcons."

Northampton chief executive Mark Darbon said: "George, Alan Gaffney, (attack coach) Alan Dickens and myself had a set of constructive meetings on his return to the club on Monday.

"George accepts the disciplinary action we have taken.

"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.

"We now consider this matter resolved and won't be commenting further."

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Gatland: Wales will 'look after' North

Gatland says Wales will look after North. Credit: PA

Warren Gatland says Welsh rugby will "look after" George North if his Northampton career ends early.

The Wales wing's Saints contract expires at the end of this season, after which he will move back to Wales on a national dual contract.

North's selection to face NatWest 6 Nations opponents Italy this weekend comes four days on from him missing Northampton's Aviva Premiership game against Sale Sharks, after which interim Saints boss Alan Gaffney suggested the 25-year-old had not wanted to play for Northampton.

North had been released by Wales as it was a Six Nations fallow week, but he did not feature for Northampton amid reports he had an arrangement with former Saints rugby director Jim Mallinder that he would not play club rugby on rest weekends.

Gatland said: "The message I have said to George is, if he wants to come home quicker than next season we will look after him."

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