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Gatland demands more from North

Credit: David Davies/PA Archive/PA Images

Wales head coach Warren Gatland believes George North should be exerting greater influence on matches and has warned the Northampton wing he is not guaranteed selection against England.

North missed the 12-6 victory over South Africa last autumn with concussion and Gatland insists it will be hard to drop his replacement Liam Williams for the visit of Stuart Lancaster's men to Cardiff in the RBS 6 Nations opener on February 6.

Gatland highlights the number of 22-year-old North's involvements in a game as an area for improvement.

Having spoken to (Northampton assistant coach) Alex King, Northampton have the same issues with George about touching the ball more.

We want to see more touches and have the ball in his hands. When he does that he is dangerous and makes some metres for us.

We will see how training goes, but if you are a player who has won against South Africa and started the game it's sometimes difficult to be dropped.

We won't sit down as a coaching team until next Monday or Tuesday and start talking about a team.

It's early in the week and we will see how players front up. It's a nice position for us to be in and we have options.

– Warren Gatland, Wales Head Coach

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Scarlets 22-10 Ospreys

Scarlets got 2015 off to a winning start with their first victory over Ospreys since 2011.

The game got off to a rocky start for the homeside after captain Scott Williams was sin-binned 10 minutes in for a high tackle on Scott Baldwin. But a try from Liam Williams and three penalties from the boot of Rhys Priestland helped the Scarlets to a 14-3 lead at half time. John Barclay got them a second shortly after the start of the second half.

Despite a try from Dan Evans, Ospreys couldn't catch their hosts up. Final score Scarlets 22-10 Ospreys.

Full time: Cardiff Blues 17 - 23 Newport Gwent Dragons

Newport Gwent Dragons survived a fightback from the Cardiff Blues to secure a 23-17 victory in the Boxing Day Welsh derby at the Arms Park.

The visitors extended their 13-3 half-time lead soon after the break, after the referee awarded a penalty try when their driving maul was collapsed.

Jarrad Hoeata and Tavis Knoyle dived over for the hosts in quick succession to narrow the scores to 20-17 with 10 minutes left.

Dragons replacement Dorian Jones was denied a late try by the television match official, but they held on for victory.

Half-time: Cardiff Blues 3 - 13 Newport Gwent Dragons

Newport Gwent Dragons lead Cardiff Blues 13-3 at half-time in the Boxing Day Welsh derby at Cardiff Arms Park.

Hooker Elliot Dee crossed for the visitors from a driving maul. Tom Prydie also kicked two penalties for the Dragons, with Gareth Davies responding for the Blues' only score.

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Three young players sign dual contracts

The WRU has announced that three young players - Tyler Morgan, Hallam Amos and Rhodri Jones - have become the latest to sign dual contracts, to secure their futures playing rugby in Wales.

They were on a list of 12 Welsh players to be offered national dual contracts.

Dragons centre Tyler Morgan, 20, is the first uncapped player to sign a dual contract. Credit: WRU
Dragons wing Hallam Amos, 20, has made one appearance for Wales. Credit: WRU
Scarlets prop Rhodri Jones, 23, already has 13 Wales caps. Credit: WRU

They will remain with their current regions, with the WRU involved in managing their playing time and development.

They take the number of players on the contracts to five, with established stars Sam Warburton and Dan Lydiate already having signed up.

Securing the signatures of these three young players represents the most momentous stage so far for the NDC system in Wales. The future of Welsh rugby is in the hands of the likes of Tyler, Hallam and Rhodri. Today's announcement marks a shift in the sands in terms of player retention and welfare in Wales.

– Roger Lewis, WRU Chief Executive

Ken Owens and Liam Williams to stay with the Scarlets

Scarlets captain Ken Owens and fullback Liam Williams have confirmed they will stay with the region.

Ken Owens playing for Wales in 2012 Credit: Joe Giddens/EMPICS Sport

Scarlets Head Coach Wayne Pivac said: "Retaining players of both Ken and Liam's experience and quality at the Scarlets is vitally important for the future of this region.

"Having experienced players, with great leadership qualities and genuine passion for our region, commit their futures to Parc y Scarlets reinforces our intentions and ambitions to compete on the highest level and continue to strive to reach our potential."

Justin Tipuric signs new three-year Ospreys contract

Ospreys Rugby have announced that Justin Tipuric has signed a new three-year contract with the region.

The 25 year old's future had been cast into doubt after speculation linked him with a potential move to England or France but he has now instead pledged his future to the Ospreys, a move described by the region as 'a significant statement of intent'.

Justin Tipuric in action against Northampton last year Credit: David Davies/PA Archive

“I’m just incredibly happy to have sorted this out so that I can focus solely on my rugby" said Tipuric.

"I’m a local boy who is privileged to enjoy playing for my home region, and now I can do that for another three years."

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