'Heartbroken' Wales star North out of contention for Lions tour

London (AFP) –


Wales star George North is out of contention for the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa after confirming on Wednesday he has suffered a serious knee injury.

It is a major blow for Lions head coach Warren Gatland, who names his squad next week.

The 29-year-old North, who was hurt during Ospreys' victory over Cardiff Blues at the weekend, tweeted: "Sport can be cruel.

"We all know the risks when we take the field. Unfortunately, I ruptured my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) on Saturday and will need surgery next week. Heartbroken is an understatement."

The normal recovery period for such an injury is six to nine months.

North, whose tally of 105 Test caps includes three for the Lions during their victorious 2013 tour of Australia, played a key role in Wales' 2021 Six Nations triumph.

Although best known as a winger, he was deployed at centre by Wales coach Wayne Pivac in the tournament.

North was also on the 2017 Lions tour of New Zealand before a hamstring tear ruled him out of a drawn Test series against the All Blacks.

The Lions tour will include three Tests against the world-champion Springboks in July and August, although Covid-19 restrictions mean they are likely to be without their familiar large numbers of travelling supporters.