Gatland: Injured North a big loss


Warren Gatland is unsure whether George North will require surgery after a hamstring injury cut short his tour of New Zealand and said the wing will be "a big loss" to Wales.

British and Irish Lions flyer North pulled up during the second half of Wales' 39-21 loss in the opening game of the three-match series at Eden Park on Saturday.

North will play no further part in the series and the 24-year-old will head home, leaving Gatland with a huge void to fill.

Wales head coach Gatland said: "George is going home. It's a significant tear but we're unsure whether he needs an operation or not. It's unfortunate for him and a big loss for us.

"Hopefully, he gets a good break and comes out for next season. It's a shame for George, he's hit a bit of form in recent months.

"He was outstanding in the first Test in attack with his footwork. He caused the All Blacks a lot of problems so it is a big loss for us but it's an opportunity for somebody else."

Versatile back Rhys Patchell and teenage winger Keelan Giles were called up to the Wales squad on Saturday, while Tom James and Eli Walker will get a chance to stake a claim for a starting spot on the second Test when Gatland's men face Chiefs on Tuesday.

Centres Scott Williams and Tyler Morgan will also be eager to make an impact against Super Rugby outfit Chiefs just four days before Wales play the All Blacks in Wellington.

"There's an opportunity for both of them [James and Walker] and the midfield too," Gatland stated.

"There's a lot on the line for the players who are playing against the Chiefs in terms of personal and team performance before we announce the side for Saturday."