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George North to miss Lions tour of South Africa after suffering severe knee injury

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Would North have been a test starter for Gatland? This isn’t an outrageous suggestion given his form at 13, although it seems a bit odd that a Gatland player started sporadically in midfield during his tenure as Wales head coach would have was his first choice option at the away center for the Lions against South Africa.

There aren’t any other centers that can cover the wing as well as North, obviously, given his 90 wing caps for Wales and Lions. His absence could boost the prospects of some specialized centers that could have been considered from afar for the selection like the Scots Chris Harris and Sam Johnson, or Ireland Bundee Aki. Maybe even Manu Tuilagi. Personally, Harris would still have turned after a good season for Gloucester and Scotland.

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Conversely, utility full-backs who can cover the center but might lack form or match time could enter the frame, such as England’s Elliot Daly or Jack Nowell. Daly had a bad Six Nations but has looked sharp 13 for the Saracens in recent weeks.

As for Test XV, North’s injury could mean Davies’ chances of selection are increased, although the veteran Wales will need to shift some gears after Six Nations to be at his best. If the Lions play tomorrow, Gatland could be tempted to pair Davies at 13 with Owen Farrell at 12, although the inside center form in Britain and Ireland has been Robbie Henshaw.

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But today everyone should really be focusing on the North, and what a shame it is a player who has regained his form and seemed certain to make a third Lions tour, will now follow him from home. His performances for Wales over the past few months deserved better. Although he could still tour the 2025 Lions in Australia when he was only 33 years old.

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