Six Nations: North's return makes Wales worthy favourites for Murrayfield win

George North is Wales'  try scoring talisman
George North is Wales' try scoring talisman

Concussion and injury has conspired against George North in this year's Six Nations but the giant winger looks fit and ready to help Wales' pursuit of England

"Wales not only have North returning but have got Bath's powerful back row forward Taulupe Faletau challenging to start ahead of Ross Moriarty while Sam Warburton and Justin Tipuric were both outstanding against England."

At nearly six feet five inches tall and weighing in at more than 17 stone, you might think the only issue with George North is the risk of who he might knock out.

Instead he's found his season, so far, defined by the row over whether Northampton Saints were wrong to patch him up and send him back on the field after he'd clearly been knocked cold in a game just before Christmas.

At a time when the sport of rugby is acutely aware of the issues around concussion, North found himself caught up in a media storm. You'd have thought he'd done something really serious like eating a pie, rather than merely sustaining an injury!

It ended with World Rugby censuring his club for the way they dealt with the issue (or didn't deal with it, as the case may be), although curiously deciding against imposing any sort of punishment.

And even when North felt he might leave all that fuss behind by joining up with Wales for the Six Nations, his luck stayed out. Forced to go off with a dead leg during the opening 33-7 win over Italy, he then didn't recover in time to face England.

Would Wales have won that exceptionally tight contest in Cardiff if North had been fit? We'll never know, but there are plenty of people on the west side of the Severn Bridge who think so. And they are all looking to the giant winger to prove his value when he does return to fitness in this weekend's trip to play Scotland.

Wales are 1.9310/11 favourites to win at Murrayfield and the return of North, who has become their try scoring talisman with 140 points to his name in 66 internationals, is one of the strongest reasons why.

Still in the record books as the youngest to score a try for his country dating back to his debut eight years ago, the 26-year-old is one of those players who is always a threat. He was a key influence when they won the Grand Slam in 2012, and just as important a year later when Wales recovered from losing their opening match to Ireland to again be Six Nations champions.

Personally I can't see England slipping up this year, but if they do then Wales will still see themselves as having a chance to steal the title again, and at their current price of 32.031/1 represent a very appealing punt.

I know Scotland are much improved, and backed them to win in France, but Vern Cotter's side got hit by back luck with injuries in their battle in Paris and will still be suffering the after effects this weekend. Captain Greig Laidlaw and powerful number eight Josh Strauss will both miss the rest of the tournament.

Wales, in contrast, will not only have North returning but have got Bath's powerful back row forward Taulupe Faletau challenging to start ahead of Ross Moriarty while Sam Warburton and Justin Tipuric were both outstanding against England.

Their back row is strengthened while Scotland's has been critically weakened, and that could prove crucial. If Wales will enough ball in the rucks and mauls, then they have North waiting down the line to apply the killer touch. Or should that be the knock-out blow!

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