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George North can be new John Bevan - Jonathan Davies

Wales wing George North crosses for his second try on a remarkable debut in the 29-25 defeat to South Africa

Scrum V analysis: Wales 25-29 South Africa

Former fly-half Jonathan Davies said he had paid Wales' teenage wing sensation George North the "highest compliment" after comparing him to John Bevan.

North, 18, became the third youngest Welsh international when he started the 29-25 loss to South Africa in Cardiff.

The 6ft 4in Scarlets powerhouse from Anglesey responded with two debut tries that led Davies to liken him to former Wales and British & Irish Lion Bevan.

"That's the highest compliment I can pay George North," Davies told Scrum V.

"I thought John Bevan was an absolute legend of a player.

"I have to applaud the Scarlets for blooding the youngsters… I didn't realise how good the kid was, but he's got everything to be a huge success at this level."

North enjoys 'awesome' debut

Former Wales and Lions scrum-half Brynmor Williams agreed with the comparison to star 1970s three-quarter Bevan, who went on to have a highly successful rugby league career with Warrington, Wales and Great Britain.

"[North has the] same size and same attitude," Williams told Scrum V. "I just hope he has something like the career John had... It's a promising start to say the least.

"When a youngster comes in on the wing you hope he comes away with a decent game, but he was Wales' top carrier with 14, he made some great decisions and scored two tries - it was a wonderful start for him.

"[Wales backs coach] Robert Howley can get excited by what can be achieved with that back line."

North also impressed the world champion Springboks who Wales ran so close at the Millennium Stadium.

John Bevan scores for Wales against England in 1971

John Bevan's tries against England

"He has a lot of talent," said 70-cap South Africa lock Bakkies Botha. "He showed some class.

"If they can look after him, he will definitely be a good player for Wales in the future.

"At his age, to come and play the kind of rugby he played against the Springboks is formidable. He's a player to keep your eye on for the future."

Despite outscoring the Springboks by three tries to one and leading 20-9 just after half time, Wales still slipped to their ninth defeat from 11 games, their fifth loss on the bounce.

Wales have won one just one of their 12 games against Tri-Nations opposition under coach Warren Gatland, and can boast just three wins over those sides since the game went professional in 1995.

"You can't put the blame on the coaches - it's just us [players] at the end of the day," said Wales full-back Lee Byrne.

South Africa have got a few players coming back [for the World Cup] but we shouldn't fear them, we can beat them

Jonathan Davies

"We've got to learn to manage a game when we go up by that many points. Maybe in the past, we would have gone into that game possibly expecting a defeat, but now we are expecting victories.

"We are setting the bar high, and we've got to keep on building for the World Cup next year.

"We are competing better, but we are not getting the win on the board, which is the most important thing. Until we start getting the wins, it's not good enough really."

Davies says that Wales are close to nailing one of the major fixtures and that they can overcome South Africa when the sides next meet on 11 September in Wellington at the World Cup.

"Once we learn to win a game at this level it breeds confidence, then it comes naturally," Davies told Scrum V.

"You take a drop-goal, you get to within a point... then your options are far greater in the dying seconds. It's just getting into that winning habit.

"South Africa have got a few players coming back [for the World Cup] but we shouldn't fear them, we can beat them."

South Africa's Willem Alberts scores a try

Highlights - Wales 25-29 South Africa



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see also
Anglesey's North has great debut
15 Nov 10 |  People and Places
Williams injury concern deepens
18 Nov 10 |  Welsh
Wales stumble at Tri-Nations block
14 Nov 10 |  Welsh
Wales 25-29 South Africa
13 Nov 10 |  Welsh
Wales 16-25 Australia
06 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
North tipped for very big future
29 Sep 10 |  Scarlets


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