Welsh winger George North in action for Northampton Saints.

Welsh winger George North in action for Northampton Saints. Photo: Getty Images

LONDON: Northampton Saints were hit with a £60,000 ($111,000) fine for releasing star wing George North to play for Wales, Premiership Rugby said on Wednesday.

Saints allowed North to play in Wales's 30-26 defeat to Australia on November 30, a match that was played outside the International rugby Board's (IRB) official Test window.

Northampton were forced to release North due to the terms of their contract with the player, but Premiership Rugby rules stipulate that teams may not free players to other nations for Tests played outside the IRB's window.

Premiership clubs have an agreement that only England players can be released for such matches.

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

AFP