Wales back North out of Lions tour with knee injuryon April 28, 2021 at 9:13 am

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Wales back George North is ruled out of the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa because of a serious knee injury.

George North taken off injured

The 29-year-old suffered the injury on Saturday, playing for Ospreys against Cardiff Blues in the Pro14 Rainbow Cup.

Lions coach Warren Gatland will name his 36-man squad on 6 May.

North tweeted: “Sport can be cruel. I will need surgery next week. Heartbroken is an understatement.”

North suffered the problem early in the second half of the 36-14 victory.

He appeared to get his leg stuck in the Liberty Stadium turf and was in notable pain before being helped off the field.

He was featuring on the wing for his region after being used as a centre by Wales coach Wayne Pivac this season.

North played an important role in Wales’ 2021 Six Nations title success, impressing at outside centre.

His versatility and experience of playing on previous Lions tours made him a prime candidate to be named in Gatland’s squad to tour South Africa in July and August.

It would have been a third Lions tour for North after he was part of the squad in Australia in 2013 and New Zealand four years later.

George North announcement

“It’s a big blow for the Lions and a big blow for George as well,” Gatland told BBC Jersey.

“For a number of years we thought about the potential of him moving from the wing into the midfield and how would he go with that.

“We’ve seen players in the past, in particular All Blacks players like Tana Umaga and Ma’a Nonu, start their careers on the wing and ended up moving into the midfield for the All Blacks.

“He was looking incredibly promising from the Six Nations and the way he performed.

“It’s a big loss for George, I feel for him and wish him a speedy recovery and hopefully he can get back to full fitness and get quickly to playing international rugby.

“What he’s achieved in the game’s been brilliant, 100 tests, the youngest Welsh player to achieve that goal, and hopefully he’s got more rugby in him.

“I’ve always been a great believer once someone misses out that creates an opportunity for someone else.

“We’ve got to realise we’ve got two or three players that aren’t going to make the tour because they’ve got injuries.

“I presume between now and when we get on the plane and fly out to South Africa, we’re going to pick up one or two others as well.”

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