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North ruled fit for first Test

19th June 2013 07:41

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George North Manu Tuilagi Lions

George North: Overcome a hamstring injury

Wales wing George North has been passed fit to play for the British and Irish Lions in Saturday's first Test against the Wallabies in Brisbane.

The 21-year-old injured his hamstring in the Lions' 64-0 victory over Combined Counties XV last week and had appeared to be a major doubt for the opening Test.

But Lions assistant coach Rob Howley confirmed that the Northampton Saints bound speedster has passed a fitness test and will be available for selection.

"George came through a fitness test this morning and I've never seen him in better shape," Howley said.

"He'll be available and that's a big boost for us."

However, Welsh compatriot and fellow back Jamie Roberts remains a serious doubt for Saturday.

Centre Roberts, who pulled a hamstring against the Waratahs last weekend, is set to sit out the series-opener with Irish wing Tommy Bowe, who is recovering from a broken bone in his hand.

The pair may still return for the second Test in Melbourne on June 29. The third and final Test is in Sydney on July 6.

Howley rated England bulldozing centre Manu Tuilagi as "touch and go" for Saturday with his shoulder injury steadily improving.

His absence would leave a likely midfield pairing of Welshman Jonathan Davies alongside Irish veteran Brian O'Driscoll at outside centre.