The British and Irish Lions beat Japan 28-10 in their first Test Match at BT Murrayfield Stadium but the match was overshadowed by a shoulder injury that ruled captain Alun Wyn Jones out of the tour of South Africa.
Tries from Josh Adams, Duhan van der Merwe, Robbie Henshaw and Tadhg Beirne ensured Warren Gatland’s men got off to a winning start in Edinburgh.
However, shoulder injuries to Jones and Tipuric, with the former seemingly being a dislocated shoulder, soured the afternoon somewhat – with both players’ tours now in doubt.
Japan played their part in what was a useful warm-up for the Lions – with Kazuki Himeno forcing his way over for a score after the hour mark and Yu Tamura adding a penalty.
Warren Gatland is asked if the decision on Alun Wyn Jones has been made.
“It’s pretty much made. I’ve spoken to the physios and they’ve spoken to Alun Wyn”
“At best, he may be available for the Tests but we need someone to come in,” said Gatland.
“However, we’ve had a chat and it looks like we’re going to have to replace him. It’s devastating news. It’s very disappointing for him. I’ll finalize a name after this press conference and make a call on who will come in and who will take over as tour captain,”Warren Gatland
A post on the Lions’ official Twitter account read: “Meet our new Lions Rugby 2021 Captain – Conor Murray. Not the way he would have wanted to become Captain but congratulations to the three-time Lions Tourist. A proven talent and an excellent leader.”
The Lions were forced to play the last 10 minutes with 14 men after Jack Conan went off injured with all the replacements already on the pitch, and they spent most it defending their line.
“I’m pleased with that result,” said man of the match Biggar.
“The second half was a bit of a slog as we made some errors. We played some good rugby in the first half and we can use it as a stepping stone”
“We were just trying to do the basics early doors. We just managed it, everything seemed to click. It was great to play in front of this crowd and I want to thank them. It’s been awesome,” said Biggar.
The Lions play the first match of their eight-game, three-Test South Africa tour in Johannesburg on July 3.
British and Irish Lions: Williams; Adams, Henshaw, Aki, Van der Merwe; Biggar, Murray; Sutherland, Owens, Furlong, Henderson, AW Jones (capt), Beirne, Tipuric, Conan
Replacements: George, W Jones, Sinckler, Lawes, Faletau, Price, Farrell, A Watson.
Japan: Yamanaka; Matsushima, Lafaele, Nakamura, Fifita; Tamura, Shigeno; Inagaki, Sakate, Koo, Van der Walt, Moore, Leitch (capt), Labuschagne, Mafi.
Replacements: Horikoshi, Millar, Ai Valu, Cornelson, Himeno, Tatafu, Saito, Matsuda.