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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."

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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Wales international trio sign dual contracts with Scarlets and WRU

Gareth Davies is one of three to have signed dual contracts with Scarlets and WRU Credit: PA

Wales international trio Jonathan Davies, Jake Ball and Gareth Davies have all signed national dual contracts with the Scarlets and Welsh Rugby Union.

The WRU announced that the Scarlets stars have put pen to paper.

Centre Jonathan Davies has taken up a contract option to remain at the Scarlets, lock Ball has signed his second dual contract at the Llanelli-based region and scrum-half Gareth Davies has agreed one for the first time.

National dual contracts are funded 60 per cent by the WRU and 40 per cent by a player's region.

Jonathan Davies and Ball are currently sidelined by injuries, but Gareth Davies was an integral part of Wales' first two NatWest 6 Nations performances against Scotland and England.

WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips voiced his satisfaction at the news.

This is another significant announcement for Welsh rugby, with three experienced internationals committing their future to the game in Wales and to the Scarlets.

It is testament to the NDCs and the environment we are creating in partnership with the regions that Jake and Jonathan have both signed extensions to their NDCs.

It is vital we retain our best talent for the future of our game on and off the field, and Gareth signing an NDC for the first time is another important commitment.

– Martyn Phillips
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