Northampton fined £60,000 for releasing North

George North scores a try for Wales in their 30-26 defeat to Australia Credit: PA

Northampton Saints have been fined £60,000 after releasing George North for Wales duty outside the International Rugby Board's (IRB) designated Test window, Premiership Rugby has confirmed.

The Aviva Premiership club allowed North to feature in Wales' 30-26 defeat at the hands of Australia on November 30, which came after the end of the autumn international period.

Premiership clubs have an agreement that only England players can be released for matches outside the IRB window, but North ensured he would be available for all Wales fixtures when he negotiated his summer move from the Scarlets to Franklin's Gardens.

Saints appeared before a three-man panel on Wednesday, and were handed the fine after admitting to a breach of Premiership Rugby Board policy.

Northampton Saints have decided not to appeal against the sanction.