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North to return after latest head injury

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Bordeaux-Begles’ New Zealand hooker Ole Avei (C) is tackled by Lyon’s New Zealand center Hemani Paea (3rd R) during the French Top 14 rugby union match between Lyon (LOU) and Bordeaux (UBB) on December 30, 2016 at the Matmut Stadium stadium in Venissieux near Lyon, central eastern France.

Wales wing George North is set to make his first appearance for Northampton since his latest head injury when the Premiership side face Gloucester on Sunday.

North’s club confirmed on Friday that he will start at Kingsholm in place of Juan Pablo Estelles as he makes his maiden outing since appearing to have been knocked out against Leicester on December 3.

A Rugby Football Union and Premiership Rugby review opted not to charge Saints or their medical staff with misconduct for allowing North to resume playing despite his suspected loss of consciousness during an aerial collision.

North was cleared to play in last Friday’s victory over Sale, but Northampton omitted him from their squad.

While North’s return to action brings to an end his most recent absence through concussion, the full consequences of allowing him to rejoin the match against Leicester are not yet known despite the outcome of the investigation.

The day after Northampton were cleared by the review, World Rugby announced it was seeking further information from the RFU about an “apparent non-compliance” with its concussion protocols.

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