sport

Saints fined over North release

Northampton have been fined 60,000 after releasing George North for Wales duty outside the International Rugby Board's designated Test window.

The Aviva Premiership club allowed North to feature in Wales' 30-26 defeat at the hands of Australia on November 30, which came after the end of the autumn international period.

Premiership clubs have an agreement that only England players can be released for matches outside the IRB window, but North ensured he would be available for all Wales fixtures when he negotiated his summer move from the Scarlets to Franklin's Gardens.

Saints appeared before a three-man panel on Wednesday, and were handed the fine after admitting to a breach of Premiership Rugby Board policy.

A Premiership Rugby statement read: "A meeting took place this morning of the Designated Panel appointed by the Premiership Rugby Board under its Code of Conduct to consider the charge against Northampton Saints that the club had breached the Board policy with regard to international player release.

"Northampton Saints admitted the breach with respect to the Board policy through the release of George North beyond the requirements set out in IRB Regulation 9.

"The Designated Panel, comprising three Board members appointed under the terms of the Code, decided that Northampton Saints will be fined 60,000.

"Northampton Saints have decided not to appeal against the sanction.

"There will be no further comment from Premiership Rugby or Northampton Saints.''