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Warren Gatland 'hugely worried' about George North's playing future

The 23-year-old wing suffered three concussions in the space of four months this season.

WALES COACH WARREN Gatland has admitted that he is deeply concerned about the playing future of 23-year-old wing George North.

George North scores their fifth try North scores against Italy on the last day of this year's Six Nations. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

The Northampton Saints wide man suffered his third concussion in four months when knocked out in a Premiership meeting with Wasps in March and has not played rugby since.

North was at the centre of a high-profile incident during the Six Nations, when he appeared to lose consciousness during Wales’ clash with England but played on afterwards.

With widespread concerns around concussion in the modern professional game, Gatland told Steve James of The Telegraph that he is worried about North’s health:

“I am hugely worried,” said the Wales coach. “I had a meeting with his agent during the week and I said ‘Look if I was being purely selfish I would say: ‘George, don’t play in the last few games, get yourself right for the World Cup’, because if he gets another knock he is going to have to be out for six months or a year or something like that.

“So that is a concern. If he is feeling confident about getting back and wanting to get on the park and play some rugby, then that’s a decision he is going to make.

George North falls to the ground injured following a collision with Mike Brown North took two heavy blows to the head against England. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“He’s been out for a considerable amount of time but it’s one of those situations where he’s such a young player if he picks up two or three more of those in the next year, that’s going to finish his career, isn’t it?”

League leaders Northampton play Leicester Tigers next weekend in the final regular season fixture of the Premiership season, before they advance into the semi-finals of the English competition.

Gatland will be watching with bated breath should Saints coach Jim Mallinder name North in his side over the coming weeks.

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Murray Kinsella

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