Should George North be moved to the centre?

george north
George North’s performance against Australia last weekend was exemplary, but it has also been one of the biggest talking points this week. After shifting to the centres in the second half and playing well, would that be his best position long term? He is undoubtedly devastating in the open spaces on the wing, but moving inside would give him more chances to get his hands on the ball, and as he proved on Saturday, he has the power and quick feet to find space when there doesn’t appear to be any.

This is a fairly hypothetical exercise, at club level anyway, as the Saints have a plethora of quality centres, but purely on that hypothetical level, do you think George North’s best position in the future would be centre?

Should George North be moved into the centre?

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Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

10 thoughts on “Should George North be moved to the centre?

  1. Definitely not!

    Sounds just like kids rugby with bad coaching. Why not put him at 10? He’ll get even more ball then.

    And they can stick the rubbish Welsh players on the wing, just so they can get a game.

  2. At the moment, he still has his pace and is an excellent wing. But in the future, when he slows down a bit, I can see him shifting into the centres to carry on making good use of his height and weight, similar to what Aurelian Rougerie did.

  3. The Rougerie comparison is well made, fairly similar in stature etc… and it’s way too early to move him.

  4. With JR and JD all it achieves is displacing an excellent centre (or not displacing one). Maybe in the later stages of his career if he’s lost a bit of pace, but not now.

    1. Its an interesting question. He certainly did not look out of place when playing there against Aus. If anything, it bought him more into the game.

      As pointed out, its not an unusual move – Tana Umaga and Rougerie are the two that spring to mind, but there’s also the example of Ben Smith this autumn

      Given that it looks unlikely that Jamie Roberts will be playing much more rugby for Wales, Gatland needs to find some big centres from somewhere or his entire game plan will collapse.

      Perhaps moving JD2 in one and putting North outside him could be the answer.

      However, if moving him is currently a step too far and if Wales’ mid-field injury woes continue, they need to make sure they avoid the English problem of rubbish centres preventing the ball getting wide.

  5. No, don’t be ridiculous, he’s one of the best wingers in the world. If you would prefer to see him used to bosh things up the middle why not just pick at blindside?

  6. George excelled at outside centre at schoolboy level: as a creative centre at that, not a crashball one, so much that it was a bit of a surprise they tried (and succeeded magnificently) in turning him into a wing. He has changed since then, of course, notably getting quicker and more elusive. But given the question not so long ago was “why are they trying to turn him into a wing?” it seems perverse that doing the opposite would meet with such disapproval!

  7. He was excellent there against Australia and also against Leinster. I think centre would be his best position and I think Gatland would have been happy to give him a go there – think he’d like to use him there more long term. But in Roberts and JD we have two world-class centres already so, as has been said, we’d be moving one aside to put him in.

    What I can see happening is once Roberts has worn himself and his opponent out with the bosh, North moves to inside centre – just as big and strong, but quicker, more elusive and ability in spades to beat a man. With Scott Williams floating about too – there are some lovely options there. We have a few options to bring on to the wing in his place. JPR2 looks to have great hands, pace, heart and guts (if he’s still a little like a red setter puppy) and there a couple of other young fliers coming through.

    I think the future looks pretty good at the moment. We may not have hundreds of options, but we have more players deserving of international rugby than places available. Compare this to 1990-95…

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