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28th Apr 2021

George North the second Lions hopeful in 24 hours to have season ended

Patrick McCarry

George North

‘Heartbroken is an understatement’

George North will miss the rest of the season and the upcoming British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa after rupturing his Anterior Cruciate Ligament in his knee at the weekend.

The Wales star was injured while playing for Ospreys in The Rainbow Cup and is due to head in for surgery on the knee next week.

While the club had stated they were awaiting news on the injury, not long after their game, it was North himself that broke the bad news this morning.

The seriousness of the ACL injury means his season is over. That includes the Lions Tour, of which he was as close to a guarantee to travel as one can get.

North may have made it on his talents as a physical and fast winger alone, but his role as outside centre alongside Jonathan Davies in Wales’ Six Nations title win only boosted his chances of making Warren Gatland’s squad. North played a starring role in the Lions’ 2013 Test Series win over Australia and travelled on the New Zealand tour in 2017.

The news could now benefit an Irish Lions hopeful – depending on how Gatland and his coaches saw North’s primary position in a Lions set-up. If they were thinking of playing him at No.13, that now improves the selection odds of Garry Ringrose. England’s Henry Slade is another centre option.

If Gatland wanted to play North as a winger, he may now look at Keith Earls for the role. Earls travelled with the Lions to South Africa in 2009 and has been in top form for Munster and Ireland.

On Tuesday, Gatland would have learned of Wasps and England lock Joe Launchbury also being ruled out of the rest of the season with an ACL injury. Launchbury was by no means guaranteed to travel, but he would have been in the conversation for locks.

Launchbury missing out, again, could benefit an Irish player, with Iain Henderson, James Ryan and Tadhg Beirne all vying for second row slots in Gatland’s squad.


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