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Page last updated at 16:48 GMT, Monday, 21 February 2011

Scarlets insists George North shoulder 'strong as ever'

Magners League - Scarlets v Edinburgh
Venue: Parc y Scarlets Date: Thursday, 24 February Kick-off: 1935 GMT
Coverage: Live on S4C. Score updates on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru and BBC Sport website

George North
George North has scored two tries on his Wales debut against South Africa

Nigel Davies insists George North's shoulder is "as strong as ever" as the Wales teenager is to return from three months out for the Scarlets.

The 18-year-old wing will play his first game since shoulder surgery when Edinburgh visit Parc y Scarlets for a Magners League clash on Thursday.

North injured his shoulder in Wales' November draw with Fiji - but played against New Zealand the following week.

"He is itching to get back on the park," said Scarlets coach Davies.

North has been back in full contract training since last week following his extended period on the sidelines.

He will return in Thursday's showdown against Edinburgh as Davies' men look to move back into the Magners league play-off places following back-to-back league defeats.

The Welsh international's appearance for the Scarlets rules him out of Wales' Six Nations trip to Italy that weekend as Warren Gatland's men play in Rome on Saturday.

North is then expected to play for Scarlets in their league trip to Leinster on 4 March.

Then he is likely to be available for Wales selection for Ireland's visit to the Millennium Stadium on 12 March.

"He has been training for the the last week-and-a-half and the quality of the player is immense," said Davies.

Nigel Davies
We shouldn't expect too much of him for the first couple of games. However, it is great to have someone of his ability back

Scarlets coach Nigel Davies on George North's return

"What he brings to a side you can't underestimate - and his work-rate is second to none.

"You have to have a certain amount of game-breakers in your side and George will bring that. To have a back-three player of that quality coming back is a huge boost to us.

"He has felt he has been ready to return for the last month but the medical opinion around his shoulder, it is very important that we get that right and it is as strong as it has been ever been.

"We have spoken to Wales and we made it quite clear he wasn't fit to play last week against Scotland.

"And it is not the right thing to do to put him in to a Six Nations game in Italy, which is a tough place to go, without having any rugby behind him. So it was agreed this was the route we would take."

North, who has scored four tries in his first six Scarlets games, scored a try double on his fairytale Wales debut against world champions South Africa in Cardiff in November.

But the Scarlets rookie sustained his injury in his second cap against Fiji the following week - and North is desperate to start where he left off.

"He is desperate for a game," said Davies.

"But we shouldn't expect too much of him for the first couple of games. However, it is great to have someone of his ability back.

"When you perform like he has done, there is that natural hype when you are in Wales.

"George realises where he is but is a very level-headed boy and just wants to get back playing.

"And if he comes back on Thursday and scores a hat-trick then he probably is ready to play for Wales."

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see also
Scarlets 11-3 Edinburgh
24 Feb 11 |  Welsh
Scarlets 16-18 Ulster
18 Feb 11 |  Rugby Union
Born for rugby: George North
16 Feb 11 |  Welsh
Wales 16-16 Fiji
19 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
Shane's Six Nations injury fear
18 Nov 10 |  Welsh
North must 'keep feet on ground'
17 Nov 10 |  Welsh
North can be new Bevan - Davies
15 Nov 10 |  Welsh
North enjoys 'awesome' debut
13 Nov 10 |  Welsh
North shocked by Wales call
23 Oct 10 |  Scarlets
Wales' rugby fixtures
26 Jun 07 |  Welsh
Wales rugby results archive
15 Oct 03 |  Welsh

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