George North 'heartbroken' after being ruled out of British and Irish Lions tour through knee injury

George North played a starring role in Wales' successful Six Nations campaign and his absence from the British and Irish Lions tour will come as a huge blow for head coach Warren Gatland Credit: PA Images

Wales star George North has said he is beyond heartbroken after being ruled out of the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa through injury.

North confirmed the news on Twitter, saying he had ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament and will require surgery.

He was hurt during the Ospreys' victory over Cardiff Blues last weekend and tweeted: "Sport can be cruel.

"We all know the risks when we take the field.

"Unfortunately, I ruptured my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) on Saturday and will need surgery next week.

"Heartbroken is an understatement."

The normal recovery period for such an injury is between six and nine months.

The Ospreys said: "The Ospreys can confirm wing George North has suffered an ACL injury to his right knee and will be ruled out for the rest of the season.

"The Wales wing saw a specialist in London earlier this week and will undergo surgery next week."

British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland is due to name his squad next week Credit: PA Images

It is a major blow for Lions head coach Warren Gatland, who names his squad next week.

North, 29, was widely tipped for a starting place in Gatland's Test team against the world champion Springboks.

He had been switched from wing to outside centre with great success by Wales head coach Wayne Pivac this season and played a key role in Wales' Guinness Six Nations title-winning campaign.

North has won 102 caps for Wales and played in all three Lions Tests against Australia eight years ago.