Hamish Watson ruled out of Lions' opening clash with Japan

The vacancy at openside flanker is filled by Wales’ experienced backrow Justin Tipuric

Hamish Watson was voted Six Nations player of the year after a series of powerful displays. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

Hamish Watson was voted Six Nations player of the year after a series of powerful displays. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

 

The British and Irish Lions have suffered a setback ahead of Saturday’s pre-tour clash with Japan after Hamish Watson was ruled out by concussion.

Watson sustained a head injury during training at the squad’s camp in Jersey on Tuesday and must now begin return to play protocols, preventing him from making his Lions debut at Murrayfield.

The vacancy at openside is filled by Wales’ Justin Tipuric, a veteran of two previous Lions tours who has been promoted into the starting XV from outside of the 23 originally selected by Warren Gatland.

Watson was one of four Scotsmen picked to start by Gatland as a nod to the match being held at Murrayfield, where a crowd of 16,500 will be present for the curtain raiser to the South Africa tour.

It robs the 29-year-old of an early chance to impress the Lions management in the race to claim a backrow spot against the Springboks.

Watson was voted Six Nations player of the year after a series of powerful displays, including Scotland’s outstanding away wins against England and France.

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