Wales centre George North to retire from international rugby

George North has played 120 times for Wales
George North has played 120 times for Wales

Wales centre George North has announced his decision to retire from international rugby at the end of the Six Nations.

North will play his last game for his country against Italy at Principality Stadium on Saturday.

"I have decided that the game on Saturday will bring my international career to an end," said North.

"After 14 years it feels like now is the right time to step away. I have loved and cherished every second in a Welsh shirt and been able to play alongside some fantastic team-mates.

"I am very lucky to have lived my dream. I'm excited for the next chapter. Thank you for all the support over the years."

The 31-year-old made his Wales debut in 2010 and has 120 Test appearances to his name. He is the third most capped player for his country after Alun Wyn Jones and Gethin Jenkins and the second highest try scorer for Wales with 47.

He also represented the British and Irish Lions in the 2013 and 2017 tours of Australia and New Zealand, respectively.

North missed out on selection against Scotland in the ongoing Six Nations but returned against England and Ireland before being dropped for the defeat by France last weekend.

"George has contributed hugely to Welsh rugby in an incredible career, starting as an 18-year-old," said Wales head coach Warren Gatland.

"The way that he burst on to the scene. I can remember seeing him play and thinking we need to cap this kid.

"He's been incredible as a rugby player, but I think the most important thing is how he's contributed to the squad as a person over the years. How positive and encouraging he's been within and around the group, things that people wouldn't have seen in terms of what he has organised off the field.

"George has been outstanding and a credit to himself. He can definitely hold his head high. He and his family and friends can be very proud of everything he has achieved.

"I look forward to watching George play at Principality Stadium one final time in a red jersey on Saturday and I hope everyone will join me in celebrating him. Diolch George."