Six Nations: Warren Gatland still right man to coach Wales after wooden spoon, says George North

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George North believes “the talent is there” for Wales to bounce back from the Six Nations wooden spoon but warned a resurgence will take time as he backed Warren Gatland to remain as head coach.

North, who was forced off injured in his 121st and final appearance for Wales as they lost 24-21 at home to Italy on Saturday, says Gatland leaving “wouldn’t solve much”.

The New Zealander offered to resign in the wake of a fifth straight Six Nations loss this season, which condemned Wales to their worst campaign since 2003, but that was rejected by Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) chief executive Abi Tierney.

North said of Gatland: “He knows how to get the best out of boys, especially with where we are. [Him leaving] wouldn’t solve much, would it?

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Gatland’s offer to resign was rejected by Wales

“The boys know the standard. Gats drives that, the coaches drive that, but it is going to take time for us to get there.

“We have spoken about it honestly, and I think you have to in these times. We know where we are as a squad

“There are some real positives coming through, some shining lights, we have just got to give them time. Unfortunately, we are in the results business and the results business waits for no man.”

Wales will face world champions South Africa at Twickenham this summer before heading to Australia for two Tests.

Wales' Nick Tompkins is tackled by Italy's Michele Lamaro during the Guinness Six Nations match at the Principality Stadium (PA Images)
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Wales lost 24-21 at home to Italy on Saturday

North added: “What a great challenge now for these boys to go (against) South Africa and Australia at the end of a long World Cup year. It is the experience they need to build that resilience and robustness into them and drive forward.

“The public have been incredible with their support for the boys, and all I would say is keep believing in them.

“The talent is there – I have seen it first-hand. The talent is immense, we’ve just got to give it time. don’t think we are too far away from clicking. You have to get through this bit to get to the good bit.

“I was very fortunate I had a few more people to hold my hand when I was their age and show me how to go about winning. Once you know how and win once, you know.”

People don’t always get the fairytale ending they want. I am still incredibly proud of what I’ve achieved and how I went about my work. To be able to (bow out) at home is incredibly special.

George North

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