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Rugby - Wales yet to hit top gear, says North

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Rugby - Wales yet to hit top gear, says North
Rugby Union - Six Nations Championship - Scotland v Wales - BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Britain - March 9, 2019 Wales' Justin Tipuric wins a line out REUTERS/Russell Cheyne   -   Copyright  RUSSELL CHEYNE(Reuters)
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CARDIFF (Reuters) – Wales wing George North says his side have yet to hit top gear in this year’s Six Nations despite extending their winning run to 13 tests with victory over Scotland at Murrayfield.

Wales will host defending champions Ireland on Saturday in Cardiff, where victory will seal the Grand Slam and crown Warren Gatland’s side Six Nations winners for the first time since 2013.

However, a win for Ireland, coupled with a surprise home loss for England against Scotland, could see Joe Schmidt’s team retain the trophy.

“We’ve shown glimpses, but we haven’t really hit our straps yet,” North told the Welsh Rugby Union website (

“For us, we know there is another level there. We have just got to make sure we are on one page in terms of consistency and get a good week’s prep in and then focus on Saturday.”

Wales have yet to secure a bonus point this season with only nine tries scored in their four games, with the team relying on their impressive defence to secure victories.

“There is a good belief in the squad and a good vibe. We can dog games out when we need to,” North said.

He added that his side had committed too many errors against the Scots before emerging with a scrappy 18-11 win.

“There were too many errors in key areas of the field and we allowed Scotland straight back in. To be fair to them, they put us back in our 22 and we were under a lot of pressure,” said North.

“It wasn’t the performance we were after, but it certainly puts us in a good position in terms of carrying on to the Ireland week.”

North is well aware of the threat posed by Saturday’s visitors, who completed a solid 26-14 victory over France on Sunday to keep their championship hopes alive.

“Ireland are a quality team who have come to Cardiff before and done a job on us. We will debrief the Scotland game and we’ve only got a short turnaround, so it’s full steam ahead for Saturday now,” the wing said.

“I guess Ireland have had a similar sort of tournament to us. They’ve shown great glimpses, but also not had the consistency.

“They are still dogging it out. It makes the last game very interesting.”

(Writing by Nick Said; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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