London - Wales will hope star wing George North can prove
his fitness for English Premiership club Northampton later this week ahead of
next month's opening international against Australia in Cardiff.
North damaged a hand during Northampton's European Champions
Cup defeat by Castres last weekend.
However, the 24-year-old could feature in the Saints'
Premiership match at home to Gloucester on Friday.
North is one of several fitness concerns along with the
Scarlets trio of Liam Williams, Jake Ball and Scott Williams ahead of Wales'
match against the Wallabies at the Millennium Stadium on November 5.
"We're in dialogue with the Saints and he (North) is
working hard to be fit for the weekend," Wales forwards coach Robin
McBryde said on Tuesday.
Full-back Liam Williams (ankle) and lock forward Ball (rib)
both suffered injuries in the Scarlets' Champions Cup defeat at Saracens on
Scott Williams, a centre, withdrew ahead of that game with
an ankle problem.
"Liam hasn't been ruled out of the Australia match yet,
we're working hard with the medics to see how he reacts to that," McBryde
"The same goes for Jake with his rib injury. It's
pretty sore and it's quite hard to determine how long they're going to take.
"The same can be said for Scott but he's back running
Taulupe Faletau has definitely been ruled out of the
Australia match with a knee injury, but the Bath No 8 is expected to feature at
some stage during Wales' remaining end-of-year Tests against Argentina, Japan
and South Africa.
But, fitness concerns aside, Wales will be able to call on
their England-based players for the Australia match, even though the fixture
takes place outside World Rugby's official window for international matches.
England's Premiership clubs usually do not release
non-England players for Test fixtures outside the window but have agreed to do
so for the weekend of November 4-6 in a "gesture of flexibility".
That means the five England-based players in the Wales squad
- North, Jamie Roberts, Luke Charteris, Ross Moriarty and Tomas Francis - are
all now set to be available to face Australia.
"It's a positive," McBryde said. "It's great
news for us because that means we can have a week's good preparation with
players who will hopefully be involved in that first game."