Saints punish Welsh star North after he holds his hands up


London (AFP)

Wales star wing George North has been punished by his English Premiership club Northampton Saints after he admitted he had deliberately missed a training session prior to a match with Sale.

The 25-year-old -- who was accused at the time by Saints head coach Alan Gaffney of not being interested in playing for the club whom he is leaving at the end of the season -- will be eligible for selection for the remaining five games of the regular season.

The club refused to say what action they had taken with regard to North, who subsequently missed the 34-25 defeat by the Sharks.

"Following a meeting with the Club on Monday, George North accepted responsibility for missing a training session ahead of Saints' Premiership clash with Sale Sharks earlier this month, and has been disciplined internally," read a statement from Northampton.

"North, who returned to training on Monday, will be available for selection for Saints? five remaining matches this season, starting with this weekend?s clash against Newcastle Falcons."

Saints have had a torrid time this season with long-time director of rugby Jim Mallinder being sacked in December with Aussie Gaffney coming in as interim head coach.

They are presently third from bottom of the Premiership but are probably safe from relegation as bottom placed London Irish are 16 points adrift of them.

"George, Alan Gaffney, Alan Dickens and myself had a set of constructive meetings on his return to the club on Monday," said Saints? Chief Executive Mark Darbon. "George accepts the disciplinary action we have taken.

"George has enormous affection for this club and its supporters.

"We now consider this matter resolved and won?t be commenting further."