Lions’ winger said it was wrong to celebrate in rivals’ face in first Test match.
Explosive winger George North says he has apologised to Wallabies scrumhalf Will Genia for his exuberant try celebration in the British and Irish Lions’ first Test victory last weekend.
The Welsh flyer was ecstatic after scoring a majestic 60-metre solo try in the Lions’ 23-21 win over Australia and has been criticised for pointing his finger at Genia as he crossed the try-line.
North, 21, said he felt ‘horrendous’ over his actions and revealed he had been given a dressing down by team manager Andy Irvine and taken stick from some of his teammates over his apparent taunting gesture.
“I’ve had a few words from various people but I’ve apologised and can’t really explain why I did it,” North told a press conference Friday ahead of the second Test in Melbourne.
“It was very difficult and I just got caught up in the whole emotion of a Test match and scoring my first try.
“Looking back I do feel horrendous about doing it, but I will have to live with it now. I’ll have to take it on the chin.”
North said Irvine had spoken to him about his on-field actions.
“I had big words from Andy Irvine, which was fun,” he said.
“Rugby is a gentleman’s game and that shouldn’t be involved in the game and Andy spoke to me about that afterwards.
“I knew that once I did it. It’s very difficult to explain your emotions when you’ve just scored a try. I know I was out of line in terms of sportsmanship and rugby and I feel bad about that.
“I’ve had a lot of stick from the boys about doing it.”
North said he had spoken to Genia after last weekend’s Test, but intended to see the Wallaby scrum-half again at Saturday’s Test to express his remorse.
“It was more of less in passing, but I will reiterate again when I see him (Genia) on the weekend,” he said.
“If people know me that’s not really who I am. I am very respectful on the pitch and unfortunately I just got ahead of myself and it’s very difficult to explain when you score a try at that level and what’s going through your mind and the emotion that you feel.”
For Genia’s part he brushed it off when questioned about the incident at the Wallabies’ press conference on Friday.
“I was eating the grass so I didn’t really see it. It was a good try so he was just happy he was celebrating,” Genia said.
“I don’t take too much of that to heart or anything like that. If I score and I win I’ll probably point at him.”