Oval Talk

Gatland ‘poached’ Cuthbert and North from England

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Warren Gatland has revealed how he had to quickly wade in and 'poach' Wales duo George North and Alex Cuthbert from England.

Both Wales stars were born on the other side of the Severn Bridge over in England, but thanks to Gatland's quick thinking, they are wearing red shirts on the big stage.

The Kiwi has admitted that the pair’s call ups were ‘calculated, pre-emptive moves’, to prevent them from being lured into the England set up.

"I picked Cuthbert and George North, one because they big, powerful athletes and, two, because they were both English-qualified," he said.

"I’ve got to take a risk sometimes on these guys who are dual-qualified. I can’t afford to sit and wait for a year until Stuart (Lancaster) makes a move."

Contests between England and Wales have always been very high-profile, arguably bordering on an obsession in certain quarters.

The two sides will come head-to-head in the Six Nations once more early next year, but that is not all.

The World Cup showdown between the neighbours at Twickenham on Saturday, September 26, 2015 will be a huge contest and potentially campaign defining for both teams.

Stuart Lancaster’s side were put to the sword by Wales in Cardiff eight months ago and ensuring that he has the best possible players available for his ranks remains key for Gatland as he looks to stay ahead.

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George North, star of Wales and the Lions (Reuters)

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