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Lions begin campaign with win over Japan but lose captain to injury

The British and Irish Lions beat Japan 28-10 in their Murrayfield warm-up on Saturday, but the match was overshadowed by shoulder injuries that ruled captain Alun Wyn Jones and flanker Justin Tipuric out of the tour of South Africa.

Veteran Welsh lock Jones was forced off after eight minutes with a dislocated shoulder and coach Warren Gatland later confirmed it ruled him out. Later, he revealed that Tipuric’s tour was also over with a shoulder injury.

Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones is led from the field by medics after injurying his shoulder.

Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones is led from the field by medics after injurying his shoulder.Credit:Getty

Welsh duo Adam Beard and Josh Navidi have been called up as replacements and will fly out with their new team mates on Sunday. Ireland scrumhalf Conor Murray was named as the new Lions captain.

“Alun Wyn will obviously be a big loss, both on and off the field, but will be ably replaced by Conor,” Gatland said.

“Conor is an outstanding rugby player and is held in the highest regard with both the players and coaches. As a three-time Lions tourist, he knows what will be required as captain and I am certain he will lead the squad with excellence.”

Jones had played in the last nine Lions Tests, as well as Saturday’s game.

The better news for Gatland was that the Lions found their attacking groove early, albeit against some soft defending by a Japan team playing their first Test since the World Cup quarter-final defeat by South Africa in 2019.

Conor Murray is the new captain of Lions.

Conor Murray is the new captain of Lions.Credit:Getty

In front of 16,500 fans at Murrayfield, likely to be the biggest crowd they will play in front of this summer, the Lions were in control for the first hour of the game, their first in Britain since 2005.

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