Welsh rugby has been reeling following the announcement that Louis Rees-Zammit would be leaving the sport behind him and moving across the Atlantic to the United States and into the NFL’s international player pathway.
The 22-year-old announced his decision shortly before the Wales squad was named, saying he wanted to make his “dream come true”, although North was not shocked by the decision.
“He’s young enough to give it a couple of years. I hope it goes well for him. If it doesn’t, he can always come back,” North said.
But the 31-year-old had himself been briefly tempted by a similar move of his own following the Lions tour of Australia in 2013.
“Not many people know there was an opportunity for me,” the Wales rugby international told The Guardian.
“I was asked would I look at League in Australia. I had a couple of conversations but drew a line under it pretty quickly. My biggest goal was to play for my country and not many people from north Wales get that opportunity.”
On whether he was tempted, he said: “When I was sipping a gin and tonic in the Sydney sunshine it did cross my mind. But that was off the high of a series win. For me, it’s always been about rugby and Wales. It’s always been about the Three Feathers.”
Although North is set to depart Wales to play for French second division side Provence. Again, it was the financial contrast that made the move an attractive one, after Premiership clubs Worcester, Wasps and London Irish have all gone into administration in recent months.
Owen Farrell is also set to join French side Racing 92, and Jonny Wilkinson came to the same decision years earlier when he joined Toulon.