Gatland fears for North's health

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British and Irish Lions boss Warren Gatland has expressed his concerns for George North, urging the Wales international to forget about rugby and focus on his health after suffering another head knock.

North has a history of concussions and he appeared to be knocked unconscious during Northampton Saints' Premiership defeat to Leicester Tigers last Saturday, though he was controversially allowed to play on.

The 24-year-old, who went on an enforced five-month break from the game after suffering four head blows in five months between 2014 and 2015, has since been stood down by Northampton as he consults an independent specialist.

And as Gatland prepares for next year's tour to New Zealand, the Lions head coach told North to put his health first.

"He needs to forget about playing for Northampton at the moment and Wales in the Six Nations," Gatland said.

"He definitely needs to put himself and his long-term health first and make sure he sees the right people until he does get the all-clear.

"I absolutely understand it's concerning. He's had a few knocks in the past and you want to make sure they go through the right process to make sure that, if he does play again, he is fully fit and recovered.

"And, if he does pick up knocks in the future, it needs to be dealt with and he needs to potentially consider what is the best process for him to go through."