GEORGE North admits Wales had to produce a plan B to edge past Italy 23-15 at the Millennium Stadium.

Fans, pundits and bookies expected Warren Gatland’s men to ease past the visitors by 20 points but the Italians gave Wales a fright.

North was one of a number of superstars in red who underperformed as the champions made a stuttering start to their title defence.

“It wasn’t plan A, obviously,” said North. “From our point of view you want to start with a bit more flair than that.

“But in the grand scheme of things a win is a win. To be fair to Italy they put a good fight.

“They negated us very well in certain areas and sometimes it’s better to start with a bit of a rough ride and show the boys’ character than putting X amount of points on the board.

“I think structurally we were OK,” he added. “We were in the right places at the right times but we just weren’t as clinical as we were hoping to be.”

North is confident that Wales will come up with a plan to win in Dublin next Saturday and he’s drawing inspiration from last year’s Six Nations, when the Irish triumphed in Cardiff in the opening game.

“Last year we didn’t start so well but we came on strong in the second half (of the tournament),” he said.

“For us it’s about putting a whole performance together and I don’t think we did that. We need to tidy up our game and make sure we’re at our best on Saturday.

“Hopefully we can do that again. We’ll need to tighten up a bit and it’ll be a tough old week leading up to a big game on Saturday.

“We’ll have two teams playing a similar brand of rugby and it should be a great game.”