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George North out of Lions contention after rupturing ACL

April 28, 2021 GMT

NEWPORT, Wales (AP) — Wales winger George North is out of contention for the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa after announcing Wednesday he has a serious knee injury.

North was hurt during Ospreys’ victory over Cardiff Blues in the Pro 14 cup competition last weekend and is set to be out of action for up to nine months. He needs surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

“Sport can be cruel,” North said in a post on Twitter.

“We all know the risks when we take the field. Unfortunately, I ruptured my ACL on Saturday and will need surgery next week. Heartbroken is an understatement.”

It is a major blow for Lions head coach Warren Gatland, who names his squad next week for the tour that takes place over July and August.

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The 29-year-old North was a certainty to be picked in the Lions squad and a major contender to be part of Gatland’s test team against the Springboks.

He had been switched from winger to outside center with great success by Wales head coach Wayne Pivac this season and played a key role in Wales’ Six Nations title-winning campaign.

North has won 102 caps for Wales and played in all three Lions tests against Australia eight years ago.

It is a second setback in 24 hours for Gatland, after England lock Joe Launchbury also saw his Lions selection hopes ended by a ruptured knee ligament.

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