British and Irish Lions winger George North was passed fit for the series-opening rugby Test against Australia in three days.
The 21-year-old North, who leads the Lions on their 2013 tour in clean line breaks and meters gained, had been in doubt for the match in Brisbane after missing the past two games because of a hamstring injury.
“George came through a fitness test this morning and I’ve never seen him in better shape,” Howley said in televised news conference comments. “We’ve looked after him over the last week to 10 days and it’s a huge boost to have someone like him available.”
With head coach Warren Gatland scheduled to name his team tomorrow, Jamie Roberts is “unlikely to be fit” because of a hamstring injury, while fellow center Manu Tuilagi is “touch and go” as he recovers from a shoulder injury, Howley added.
The Lions lost their 100 percent record in the sixth game of their 10-match trip yesterday with a 14-12 defeat to the ACT Brumbies in Canberra. It was the combined team’s first loss to provincial opposition since 1997.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Baynes at firstname.lastname@example.org