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North available for first Test

British and Irish Lions winger George North has been passed fit for Saturday's first Test against Australia after recovering from his hamstring problem.

North was a doubt for the series opener at Suncorp Stadium after sustaining the injury a week ago, but assistant coach Rob Howley revealed he has fully recovered.

"George came through a fitness test this morning and I've never seen him in better shape. He'll be available and that's a big boost for us," Howley said.

North has been in superb form Down Under with his ability to beat defenders making him a key weapon against the Wallabies, and the 21-year-old is set to be named on the left wing at Thursday's team announcement.

"We've looked after him over the last week to 10 days and it's a huge boost to have someone like him available," Howley said.

"Over the last 12 months I haven't seen him in better physical shape and that's why we took the decision to get him 100 per cent physically well.

"I'm sure he's looking forward to playing at the weekend - if selected."

Centre Jamie Roberts and wing Tommy Bowe are almost certain to miss the first Test with respective hamstring and hand problems, but England's Manu Tuilagi could yet feature following a positive update on his shoulder injury.

"Jamie is progressing. He ran today and is unlikely to be fit for the weekend, as is Tommy Bowe," Howley said.

"Tommy is more likely to be available for the second Test. Manu is improving every day and the strength is coming back into his shoulder and he will be touch and go."

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