North - First game is key

Gatland delays naming his team as he waits on injured trio

Last Updated: 02/02/12 6:30pm

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George North: Certain to start in Dublin, though the rest of the team remains unclear

George North: Certain to start in Dublin, though the rest of the team remains unclear

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George North wants Wales to "push on" from their successful World Cup campaign, despite their current injury problems.

Head coach Warren Gatland has delayed naming his team for the RBS Six Nations opener against Ireland as he waits to see if centre Jamie Roberts, fly-half Rhys Priestland and flanker Dan Lydiate will be fit to feature.

Wales are already without Gethin Jenkins, Alun-Wyn Jones and Luke Carteris, three members of the pack who helped them beat the same opponents in the quarter-finals in New Zealand last year.

North knows the Irish will be out to avenge that loss in Wellington and has called on his team-mates to play to the best of their abilities on Sunday.

Marker down

"Ireland will throw everything at us - their provinces have been playing well in the Heineken Cup and Rabo Direct Pro12," Scarlets wing North told www.wru.co.uk.

"As a team we did put a marker down at the World Cup, but we want to push on from there and progress.

"The win against them in the World Cup quarter-final was massive for us. We all performed to the best of our abilities.

"That is where we want to be again, come Sunday, because the first game is always key and a win could really set us on our way."

Gatland could hand a start to uncapped 21-year-old Ospreys centre Ashley Beck if Roberts is sidelined, with James Hook the probable replacement for Priestland in the number 10 jersey.

Former skipper Ryan Jones is the obvious candidate to take over from Lydiate in a pack that is unable to call upon hooker Matthew Rees. Lloyd Burns, a potential replacement for Rees, is also currently sidelined.

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