George North set to return to Wales from Northampton

George North is set for a return to Wales after four years at Northampton Saints. David Davies / PA Images

George North will leave Northampton at the end of this season and return to Wales on a national dual contract.

The juggernaut wing, who has won 69 Wales caps and scored 30 tries, has agreed a deal from next term, the Welsh Rugby Union announced.

Northampton released their own statement confirming 25-year-old North's departure. It is not known at this stage which of the four Welsh regions he will join. National dual contracts are 60 per cent funded by the WRU, with the player's region paying the rest.

In a statement released by the WRU, North said: "As a proud Welshman, I am excited to be heading back to Wales and to have signed a NDC.

"I feel that the time is right and the opportunity to sign a NDC, with the benefits that come with it and the support it provides from the national squad set-up, was a great option for me.

"I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to be part of Northampton Saints the last four years, and I have loved every minute of my time there.

"I am excited to see what we can achieve this season, and I will be putting everything I have into helping the squad fulfil our potential this year. I would like to thank everyone at the Saints, especially all of the supporters."

Former Scarlets player North's return home is a major coup for Wales and their head coach Warren Gatland who said: "It is fantastic that George is returning to Wales on a national dual contract.

"At just 25, George is in the prime of his career, and signing an NDC, with all the playing and non-playing benefits associated with it, will allow him to flourish.

"It is great for the game here in Wales to see a player of George's stature and reputation return home to play his domestic rugby.

"In the coming weeks and months, we will work with George to determine which of the four regions has the best playing environment to suit him and for him to commit to and join ahead of the 2018/19 season."

North will play for either the Scarlets, Ospreys, Cardiff Blues or Dragons after he leaves Northampton.