Six Nations
Home truths from Gatland spur Wales on
ESPN Staff
February 23, 2014
George North could face Luther Burrell in a fortnight's time © Getty Images

Wales winger-come-centre George North claims Warren Gatland's strong words following their heavy loss to Ireland was the impetus they needed to bounce back.

Wales eased past France on Friday evening and put themselves back in the contention for the Six Nations title. The performance was a stark contrast from their loss to Ireland as they dominated France in every facet of the field.

"We shut up shop and came together [after Ireland]," North said. "I certainly sensed it during last week and this week. The tempo and atmosphere changed, and we got back to where we wanted to be.

"'Gats [Wales coach Warren Gatland] is an interesting character. He doesn't really hold back. He will speak the truth as to how he is feeling, and I think the boys answered that call. There were a lot of serious words and honesty spoken to the boys. Obviously, that showed [against France] when we came out firing on all cylinders.

"The Welsh way has always been that we front up every week. It shouldn't be hard, regardless of the result, but a loss can spur the boys on. I think we needed a kick up the backside to get us back on track the Welsh way. We have to take every game as it comes and now just push on hard from this win."

North was picked in the unfamiliar outside centre berth and if he retains that spot for their next match, against England on March 9, he is likely to come up against his Saints team-mate Luther Burrell.

"I have already texted him that I'm coming for him. No, I haven`t really!" North said. "But we've had some good banter already, and it is good to see him playing well.

"He has got his chance now in the England jersey, which is well deserved. I will need to step up and try to prove myself again for the England game, if need be. I like playing on the wing, but we will see what the gaffer says.

"Centre is different. As a wing, I am just reading what the 13 is doing, but when you are 13 then you are making things happen and the wing has to read off you. It's quite difficult to try to get used to that. Obviously, I made a few mistakes, but as a first run-out I was pretty happy with that."

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