North goes East and West
Saturdays match against Argentina once again proved that Wales are moving in the right direction. But it wasn't the national team's direction that impressed me the most, it was George North's - he's got a side step.
A genuine side step. Not a slight change of direction or a feint. North has the sort of side step that leaves defenders sitting on the grass like they're waiting for a picnic. Just ask Felipe Contepomi, who at one point in the match looked like was ready to unfurl a blanket and break out the scotch eggs.
We've always known that George North has the core attributes to play the game at the highest level - he's 6 ft 4, 16st 7lbs and covers 40 meters in 4.5 seconds. But those stats alone aren't enough; and the side step is what differentiates a great winger from a good winger. The modern game is littered with big wingers who've had a relatively small impact on the world of rugby. Without a step, the likes of Alesana Tuilagi and Hosea Gear will never reach the heights of John Kirwan, Rupeni Caucaunibuca or Jonah Lomu (people forget that Lomu could step off both legs). Because without a step, you're just a back row forward in wing's clothing.
It's great to see that North can step both east and west, and after today's RWC squad announcement, it's even better to see that he's going south.