RUGBY NEWS - George North said a load of ups and downs had been "worth every single second" after being given the chance to win his 100th Wales cap in Saturday's Six Nations international at home to England.
At 28 years and 320 days, he will surpass Australia's Michael Hopper as the youngest player to reach a century of caps for his country.
North, best known as a wing, and Jonathan Davies will form Wales' centre pairing at Cardiff's Principality Stadium.
The midfield duo have recovered from foot and ankle injuries that ruled them out of this month's victory over Scotland for a match where another win would see Wales take the Triple Crown and remain in contention for a Grand Slam.
North made his Test debut as an 18-year-old wing, scoring two tries against South Africa in 2010.
He is to become the sixth player to win 100 Wales caps after current captain Alun Wyn Jones, Gethin Jenkins, Stephen Jones, Gareth Thomas and Martyn Williams.
"I never thought I would even get one cap for Wales, let alone 100," North told reporters following Thursday's team announcement.
"It has been a long road - a load of ups and downs - but it has been worth every single second. I never thought I would get here, so I am really chuffed."
He added: "When you are in the pressure pot, the mixer, you don't really have much time (to think about records), you are on to the next job or the next fixture. They come thick and fast.
"I am sure there will be a time when I am sat there with a coffee telling Jac (North's son) that I used to play rugby once and I was half-decent, but he will probably laugh it off!
"To be able to say I played for Wales is incredible, but to say I was in a very rare club of 100 caps is very special."
Meanwhile, Wales coach Wayne Pivac praised North by saying: "He is still highly motivated and wants to play for Wales well past 100 games, and I am sure he is going to do that with the attitude he is showing."
Alun Wyn Jones holds the Wales cap record with 145 Test appearances but former Scarlets boss Pivac added: "He (North) is certainly the one that is going to challenge that number if he stays fit and his form continues to hold."