George North has become the second player in the matter of a few days to be ruled out of Lions tour selection contention with a serious ACL injury, the Wales midfielder getting hurt in weekend action with the Ospreys in the Rainbow Cup.    

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Gallagher Premiership club Wasps ruled England’s Joe Launchbury out until 2022 after he took a blow to his left knee before half-time in their 39-29 win over Bath at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday.

“Joe Launchbury sustained a complete rupture of his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during Sunday’s game against Bath,” read the Wasps statement on Tuesday. “He has had a consultation with a knee specialist, who has confirmed that he will require surgery. Everyone at Wasps wishes Joe all the best for a speedy recovery.” 

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Now, North has been similarly ruled out of Lions contention ahead of the May 6 squad announcement by Warren Gatland for the tour to South Africa. Having thrived in the Wales midfield during their recent 2021 Guinness Six Nations title win, North was viewed as a serious contender to go on his third successive Lions tour having been picked on the wing in 2013 and 2017.  

Ospreys began their Rainbow Cup campaign with a 36-14 victory over the Cardiff Blues at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday but that win was marred by concerns for North who limped from the field in the second half.

An Ospreys statement on Wednesday has now confirmed the worst for the 29-year-old who has 105 caps, 102 for Wales and another three with the Lions. “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.

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North also 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.”

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