Sydney - Powerful wing George North is fit to face the Wallabies in the
opening Test on Saturday and help the British and Irish Lions forget
their first non-Test defeat in Australia in 42 years.
Assistant coach Rob Howley on Wednesday said his fellow Welshman had fully recovered from a hamstring strain.
flying winger passed a fitness test Wednesday morning following the
14-12 loss to the Brumbies in Canberra on Tuesday night.
"I've never seen him in better shape and he's available for selection which is a huge fillip for us," Howley said.
"It's a huge morale boost to have someone like George North available for us."
North, who weighs 110kg (242lb) and stands 1.92m (6ft 4in), is rated one of the best finishers in world rugby.
Northampton-bound wing is expected to line up against code-hopping
Wallabies debutant Israel Folau at Brisbane's sold-out Suncorp Stadium.
However, Welsh compatriot and fellow back Jamie Roberts remains a serious doubt for Saturday.
Roberts, who also pulled a hamstring, against the Waratahs last
weekend, is set to sit out the series-opener as is wing Tommy Bowe. The
Ulsterman is recovering from a broken hand sustained in the win over
The pair may still return for the second Test in Melbourne on June 29. The final clash is in Sydney on July 6.
rated England's bulldozing centre Manu Tuilagi as "touch and go" for
Saturday with his shoulder injury steadily improving.
would leave a likely midfield pairing of Welshman Jonathan Davies
alongside Irish veteran Brian O'Driscoll at outside centre.
Lions, fielding six recent injury reinforcements, were battered at the
breakdown by the Australian Super Rugby conference leaders in Canberra.
was the Lions' first tour loss to a provincial side since going down
35-30 to Northern Transvaal in South Africa in 1997 and the first win by
an Australian provincial team against them since the Reds beat the
tourists 15-11 in 1971.
Lions coach Warren Gatland said he hoped
the loss would prove "a reality check" after five consecutive wins in
Hong Kong and Australia.
Gatland and rival coach Robbie Deans were due to announce their teams on Thursday.
Australians had their own good news on Tuesday with winger Digby Ioane
declaring himself ready to return to the fray just four weeks after knee
Australian media reported that Deans has already settled
on his side, which will have two other new caps with the Brumbies'
Christian Lealiifano at outside centre and wildcard Ben Mowen in the