Two-time Six Nations winner George North couldn’t have made a more perfect start to life at Ospreys – earning the acclaim of head coach Allen Clarke by scoring two tries on debut in a 17-12 victory against Edinburgh Rugby.
The 76-times capped Wales international stunned the Liberty Stadium crowd with an outstanding second-half brace as compatriot Sam Davies kicked a vital four points to get the Ospreys’ season off to a flyer.
And nobody was more impressed by the 26-year-old’s Guinness PRO14 return than Ospreys head coach Allen Clarke, describing North’s debut as a complete performance.
“He looks like a new George North,” said Clarke.
“Obviously he will get the headlines for scoring two tries and taking them fantastically well, but equally I was pleased with the complete package with his work off the ball, his resilience when he took a bad bang early on, his desire to stay on and not for a moment thinking of coming off – and that was rewarded at the back end of the game.
“I think that reflects where he has been as a person within the group and along with that I would say Aled Davies and Scott Williams. With every player in the squad it feels like a new beginning.”
Beating two defenders for the opening try, the former Northampton Saints winger doubled his tally when Ospreys captain and Welsh international flanker Justin Tipuric released North to race upfield and cross the whitewash.
Adding steel to the Ospreys back line, North shined with a total of ten carries and an impressive 129 metres made throughout the tie.
While North undoubtedly made the headlines, compatriot Tipuric was equally singled out by the Ospreys boss.
“I thought he was outstanding, his energy levels, his decisions in and around the breakdown and his footballing ability,” added Clarke.
“I thought he was absolutely outstanding, as was Alun Wyn Jones.
“We’re not going to get ahead of ourselves because it’s only game one but it feels like a new beginning in terms of our approach, environment and energy.”