George North: Wales international set to miss 2021 British and Irish Lions tour after announcing ACL injury
The Lions take on Japan on June 26, with their first Test against South Africa on July 24; George North's injury is a major blow for British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland, who names his squad next week; North was hurt during Ospreys' victory over Cardiff Blues last weekend
Last Updated: 28/04/21 4:21pm
Wales and Ospreys wing George North is set to miss the 2021 British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa after rupturing his ACL.
It is a major blow for Lions head coach Warren Gatland - who names his squad next week - with the normal recovery period for such an injury meaning North could face six to nine months out.
North, who toured with the Lions in 2013 and 2017, was hurt during Ospreys' victory over Cardiff Blues last weekend and took to Twitter to confirm the injury, posting: "Sport can be cruel.
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"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 Lions face Japan on June 26 - and take on South Africa for the first Test on July 24 - with North widely tipped for a starting place in Gatland's Test team against the world champion Springboks.
He had been switched from wing to outside centre 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 Wasps and England lock Joe Launchbury saw his Lions selection hopes ended, also by a ruptured knee ligament.
The Ospreys said: "The Ospreys can confirm wing George North has suffered an ACL injury to his right knee and will be ruled out for the rest of the season.
"The Wales wing saw a specialist in London earlier this week and will undergo surgery next week."
Jack Nowell's recent injury woes look certain to end his Lions hopes but the England winger had one final chance to remind Warren Gatland what he can do. The battle of the top two Premiership sides was the perfect opportunity for Nowell and he did not disappoint as he helped Exeter beat Bristol 20-12 on Friday night.
Nowell, who was physically imposing on attack making sure he always got over the gain line, also showed his strength and power by bumping off opposing winger Niyi Adeolokun. He beat three defenders with 11 carries and was very busy in defence too.
Dan Biggar has got plenty of plaudits for his commitment to the Northampton Saints cause against Leicester Tigers on Saturday. It was the sort of gutsy display that the Lions will need in South Africa and will certainly not have gone unnoticed.
Biggar was obviously injured and leaving the field, however, he shrugged off the helping physios when he realised that Saints were down to 14 men and hobbled back into action - getting back to produce a match-winning tackle on Jasper Wiese.
Once again, Sean Simmonds showed what he can do with an excellent performance for the Chiefs. Simmonds did leave the field around the 60-minute mark with a rolled ankle, however, he did more than enough to impress Gatland.
In similar conditions that the Lions will face in South Africa, Simmonds made a 62m in attack and set up a try for Tom O'Flaherty.
Sky Sports will exclusively show the British & Irish Lions' three-Test series against the Springboks in South Africa in 2021, as well as their five warm-up matches.
This agreement means Sky Sports will show its seventh successive Lions tour, a partnership that will enter its 25th year in 2021.
The Lions will face the Springboks in three Tests - all exclusively live on Sky. The rights also include each of the five warm-up matches.