George North ‘heartbroken’ to be ruled out of Lions tour after ACL injury

George North will miss the British and Irish Lions’ tour of South Africa this summer after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament.

North suffered the injury in an innocuous incident gathering a loose ball while playing for Ospreys against Cardiff Blues on Saturday. His right knee was treated by medics before he was helped from the field.

Scans have now revealed an ACL injury, which typically takes several months to fully heal, and means the Wales back will not play any part in the Lions tour, which begins in July.

It is a major blow to North who had been returning to form for club and country this season, playing a leading role in Wales’ recent Six Nations triumph from a new role at outside centre.

“Sport can be cruel,” North tweeted. “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 also comes as a significant setback for Warren Gatland a week before he names his Lions squad. North, 29, was widely tipped for a starting place in Gatland’s Test team against the world champion Springboks.

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

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.”

North has won 102 caps for Wales and played in all three Lions Tests against Australia eight years ago, scoring a try in the final Test to help the Lions clinched the series.

Additional reporting by PA

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