WALES legend George North will retire from international rugby after Wales’ Six Nations clash with Italy on Saturday.

The 31-year-old has been recalled to the XV at centre for the wooden spoon showdown at Principality Stadium.

It will be a last hurrah on the Test stage for Wales’ most-capped men’s back, who made his debut as an 18-year-old in 2010.

With 120 caps, North is third on the all-time list of appearances behind Alun Wyn Jones (158) and Gethin Jenkins (129).

The wing-turned-centre will aim to add to his try tally for Wales of 47, a figure that only Shane Williams (58) can beat.

North, who is leaving the Ospreys for Provence next season, said: “I’ve decided that the game on Saturday will bring my international career to an end.

“After 14 years it feels like now is the right time to step away. I have loved and cherished every second in a Welsh shirt and been able to play alongside some fantastic teammates.

“I’ve been very lucky to have lived my dream. I’m excited for the next chapter. Thank you all for your support over the years. Diolch.”

South Wales Argus: POWERHOUSE: George North has been a mainstay of the Wales XVPOWERHOUSE: George North has been a mainstay of the Wales XV (Image: Newsquest)

North, who came through at the Scarlets before a move to Northampton, scored twice on his Wales debut against South Africa at the age of 18 in 2010.

He went on to star at the 2011 World Cup and featured in the 2015, 2019 and 2023 tournaments.

North also helped the Lions to a series victory in Australia in 2013, famously lifting Israel Folau on his back on a barnstorming run.

Wales senior men’s head coach Warren Gatland said: “George has contributed hugely to Welsh rugby, in an incredible career starting as an 18-year-old.

“The way that he burst onto the scene. I can remember seeing him play and thinking we need to cap this kid.

“He’s been incredible as a rugby player, but I think the most important thing is how he’s contributed to the squad as a person over the years.

"How positive and encouraging he’s been within and around the group, things that people wouldn’t have seen in terms of what he’s organised off the field.

“George has been outstanding and a credit to himself. He can definitely hold his head high. He and his family and friends can be very proud of everything he has achieved.

“I look forward to watching George play at Principality Stadium one final time in a red jersey on Saturday and I hope everyone will join me in celebrating him.”