Belfast Telegraph

North's chances of Test inclusion looking up

By Conor George

George North is understood to be winning his race to be fit in time for Saturday's opening Test against Australia in Brisbane on Saturday.

The Welsh powerhouse winger has been a huge concern for the management and medical staff but is believed to be making remarkable progress and there is now cautious optimism that he will train before the week is out.

If he is fit he starts on Saturday. It's that simple because he is that important to the Lions' game-plan and how they will approach the Test matches.

They will seek to get the ball into his hands as early and often as possible and let him pummel the Wallabies' defensive line in an effort to wear them down.

If North is not fit one of either Sean Maitland or Ireland's Simon Zebo will be included.

Zebo had a couple of good moments in yesterday's match and is in a strong position to be included in the Test squad at the very least.

It was suggested earlier in the week that Tommy Bowe had an outside chance of being involved this weekend. It is probable that he will be held in reserve until the following weekend and the second Test in Melbourne.

The news is not as positive on Jamie Roberts. The big Welsh centre tweaked a hamstring last weekend and while he hasn't been ruled out officially the news is not positive.

If he is ruled out Brian O'Driscoll will be paired with Jonathan Davies in a centre partnership where the duo will be given the freedom to alternate between inside and outside centre.

The Lions name their starting team for the game on Thursday morning at 3am GMT.

Belfast Telegraph

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