Wales and Scarlets wing George North says he has no intention of leaving Wales for the money–men of France, despite his monumental rise to prominence.
Since emerging on the international scene the 19 year old has become one of the most feared backs in the game and has formed an integral part of one of international rugby’s most domineering back-lines.
But while the cash-rich clubs in the Top 14 continue to try and tempt the game’s top stars across the Channel North ruled out following in the footsteps of a growing list of team-mates including Mike Phillips, Gethin Jenkins, Luke Charteris and Aled Brew, insisting he sees his immediate future in Wales.
“The trend is that if you’re older you may go a bit abroad trying to get the last couple of contracts but for me, at the ripe old age of 19, I don’t think it’s the right time to go to France really.”
The 6ft 4in, 16 stone back, who still has two years left on his Scarlets contract, stopped short however of ruling out the possibility of a move in the future.
“Obviously, it’s not something you can turn down ever. It’s such a short career”.
French rugby’s unrelenting pursuit of Welsh talent has been a constant thorn in the side of the regions in recent months, with the Cardiff Blues being the latest club forced to bat-off rumours of another move south, with North’s wing partner Alex Cuthbert reportedly courted by Toulon.
With the list of stars leaving the regional game for sunnier climbs growing by the month many are questioning what Wales needs to do to tempt its top stars to stay.
But North says that with the money that is often on offer, players are left with little choice.
“It’s a short career. People have a lot of views and theories on it. But when you've got such a short career that is so physical you have to go not only where your heart feels but also where your mind thinks as well and obviously the smart move would be to go to France and try and get the big earnings in early, so when it comes to the end of your career your not trying to push another couple of years out. “
North, and the rest of his Wales team-mates are now back with their regions for the end of season run-in. The coaching staff will be hoping that the last seven games aren't the last they see their international stars in if, or when, the French coming calling.
North was speaking during a visit to the Children’s Ward at University of Wales Hospital Cardiff as ambassador of the children’s charity LATCH.