2013 Lions: Welsh have learned from Wallaby defeats - North

 

George North says the Welsh members of the British and Irish Lions squad have learned from an eight-match losing run to Australia that began in 2009.

Only four of the 15 Welshmen bidding to face the Wallabies in the forthcoming three-Test series have beaten them.

Jamie Roberts, Gethin Jenkins, Adam Jones and Alun Wyn Jones were in the Wales side that beat Australia in 2008.

Wing North has not won in five Tests against Australia, despite going very close in his last four encounters.

Welsh Lions v Australia

Leigh Halfpenny: lost seven

Alex Cuthbert: lost five

Jonathan Davies: lost six

Jamie Roberts: won one, lost four

George North: lost five

Mike Phillips: lost eight

Gethin Jenkins: won one, drew one, lost nine

Richard Hibbard: lost three

Adam Jones: won two, drew one, lost five

Alun Wyn Jones: won one, lost six

Ian Evans: drew one, lost one

Dan Lydiate: lost seven

Toby Faletau: lost four

Sam Warburton: lost seven

Justin Tipuric: lost three

North, 21, has helped Wales win two Six Nations titles and reach the 2011 World Cup semi-final.

But five defeats from five starts against the Wallabies has left him frustrated, particularly as Wales only lost their most recent four Tests by an aggregate of 13 points.

"It has been frustrating, we have been so close on a number of occasions," said North.

"Whatever Test side they [Australia] put out will be a difficult one to play against.

"It was unfortunate to lose those last four Tests by an average of something like three points. It was horrible, and I think we learnt our lesson.

"Whatever Test side they [Australia] put out will be a difficult one to play against.

"Australia are a physical team and they have a pretty star-studded back-line. What haven't they got?

"They've got speed, hands and physicality. They have got everything there - strength in depth as well.

"You always do your best, and unfortunately, the results marginally didn't go our way, but there is nothing to fear. We could have won four of those last five games."

Loose-head prop Jenkins, tight-head prop Adam Jones and lock Ian Evans also played in Wales' 29-29 draw against Australia in Cardiff in November 2006.

But victory two years later is the only positive Welsh return since.

Evans was an unused replacement in Wales' Autumn International victory in 2005 while prop Jenkins has lost nine of his 11 encounters against the Wallabies.

And scrum-half Mike Phillips, who will be making his second Lions tour, has not beaten the Aussies in eight attempts while skipper Sam Warburton has lost his seven clashes against coach Robbie Deans' side.

News of North's selection for the Lions tour came just 17 days after his 21st birthday.

Four years ago, when Jamie Roberts was the Lions' man-of-the-series in their 2-1 defeat by South Africa, Northampton-bound North watched on Llandovery College's common room television with his fellow students.

A few months later he made a two-try Wales debut against South Africa as an an 18-year-old.

"When I heard my name it was the best feeling in the world," said North of hearing this year's Lions squad announcement.

"It was pretty awesome, surreal, but when we met up in London last week it really sunk in. It was the first time the boys had met and been all together. It was a funny sort of feeling.

"You kind of realise where you are when you're trying on your suits and stuff and you are sat between Paul O'Connell and Conor Murray, and there is Sam Warburton and Manu Tuilagi as well.

"You realise it's kind of a big deal after that.

"It has been a long season, but hopefully we will finish it with a sweet win."