George North relishing 'new chapter' as he joins the Ospreys

Wales wing George North says he is relishing "starting a new chapter" in his career after joining the Ospreys for next season.

It was announced earlier this term that North would return to Wales from Aviva Premiership club Northampton this summer on a national dual contract.

He signed a dual deal last November, and the Welsh Rugby Union revealed today that the Swansea-based Ospreys will be his destination.

In a statement released by the WRU, North said: "I am really excited to be joining the Ospreys and starting a new chapter in my career when I return to Wales.

"I believe the Ospreys have an exciting future with the structure and the recruitment they have put in place, and I am really looking forward to linking up with (head coach) Allen (Clarke) and the squad in the summer.

"It was a really positive decision for me to sign a national dual contract with the support and structure it provides.

"I have worked alongside the WRU to finalise my choice of region, and I would like to thank everyone involved."

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

And 73 times-capped North's signing is a major coup for the Ospreys, having announced on Tuesday Allen Clarke's appointment as head coach.

North, 26, made his Test debut in 2010 and toured with the British and Irish Lions to Australia in 2013 and New Zealand last year.

It is thought that European Challenge Cup semi-finaiists Cardiff Blues were also in the running to recruit North, but the Ospreys have landed his services.

The Ospreys will lose Wales international half-backs Dan Biggar and Rhys Webb to Northampton and Toulon, respectively, next season, but North now joins Wales centre Scott Williams and scrum-half Aled Davies in moving to the Liberty Stadium.

Ospreys' rugby general manager Dan Griffiths said: "We are delighted to be able to add George to our squad for next season.

"A truly world-class player, he is someone that everybody at the region is excited about seeing in an Ospreys jersey - supporters, players and coaches alike.

"George has taken his time to ensure that his decision was the right one, and it is fantastic news that he sees our environment as the best place to be going forward."

And WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips added: "George returning home to Wales is a major positive for Welsh rugby and for the Ospreys. I know he is really looking forward to next season and making a positive impact on Welsh rugby."

- PA

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