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George North warms up for his return to the Wales side against Italy

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Wales head coach Wayne Pivac says he is looking forward to seeing an exciting back-line – one which features George North at outside centre – take on Italy in the Autumn Nations Cup.

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The clash with the Azzurri is the last Welsh Test of 2020 and is a chance for the team to end on a high and build momentum going into the 2021 Guinness Six Nations.

Pivac has made nine changes for Italy from the team which lost to England last time out with North returning to the side in midfield.

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The Italy game will the 100-cap North’s sixth start at centre.

Of his previous five games there he was won three and scored two tries.

“For us it’s looking at each game on its merits,” said Pivac.

“We want to keep giving guys opportunities. I think we’ve had eight debutants and just about everyone in the squad has had a couple of opportunities.

“It’s a tournament where we said from the outset that we wanted to build some depth. We’re continuing to do so.

“We’ve put out a side we think can get a result.

“We played George at centre at the outset against Italy in the Six Nations. We know Jonathan Davies has had some injuries in the last few years and it’s about who is behind Jonathan and can take that role when he’s not there.

“Nick Tompkins has had an opportunity and now George gets a second go. We believe this is the time to ask the questions and get the answers.

“The conversations with George were simple. He had the misfortune of a red card coming out of lockdown so he’s just played no rugby.

“It’s your reaction time off the ball and little things like that which weren’t happening for him.

“He’s gone back to club rugby, had a game, and his touches on the ball were pretty good. At 13 we think we’ll get him on the ball early in that midfield area with his power and strength.

“Hopefully things will go well for him and he’ll grow into it from that.

“He’s big and strong. If you think back to the England game in the Six Nations he was firing pretty well, it was just unfortunate lockdown came when it did and he had an unfortunate red card.

“He’s working hard at training so hopefully we’ll see some good stuff from George on the weekend.”

Pivac added: “Jonathan has been declared fit and has trained fully. He was available for selection against Italy.

“He’ll be available for his club for Europe and he’s in very good spirits and looking forward to getting a run of games to be back in line for selection for the Six Nations.

“We know everything about Jonathan. We know what he can do when he’s fit and available. It’s a run of games for him to now get his full match fitness back.

“This is the last opportunity now for us to look at a successor whenever that time comes.”

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