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Watson out with injury, replaced by Tipuric in Lions starting lineup

BY Grant Constable  ·  Wednesday Jun 23, 2021

Hamish Watson has been replaced by Justin Tipuric in the starting line-up for this Saturday’s clash with Japan at BT Murrayfield Stadium for The Vodafone Lions 1888 Cup. 

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The Scottish loose forward suffered a concussion in training yesterday and will begin the graduated return-to-play protocol.

Warren Gatland’s side includes zero England players in the starting lineup, with four on the bench.

The Lions will play a warm-up on home soil for the first time since 2005, where they drew with Argentina in Cardiff, with Gatland originally picking six Irish players, five Welsh and four Scottish in the starting XV (ahead of the Watson injury) for the game in Edinburgh, which will be held in front of 16,500 spectators.

The four English players on the bench are: Jamie George, Owen Farrell (both of whom arrived into the larger training squad in Jersey following the Championship play-off against Ealing), Anthony Watson and Courtney Lawes.

Gatland says his selection was decided with the fast-paced, unstructured nature of the game Japan is expected to bring to the opening encounter, presumably with the English figures on the bench playing a bigger, controlling role once they come on.

“Everyone in the squad will get a start before the start of the Test series, so each member of the squad can put their hand up for Test selection,” he said.

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“We are absolutely delighted to be playing in front of 16,500 supporters in Edinburgh. I’m sure the crowd will give the players an enormous lift before we depart for South Africa on Sunday.”

THE BRITISH & IRISH LIONS vs JAPAN – The Vodafone Lions 1888 Cup
Saturday 26 June 2021 – BT Murrayfield Stadium
Kick-off: 3pm

15. Liam Williams (Scarlets, Wales) #833
14. Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby, Wales)
13. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #824
12. Bundee Aki (Connacht Rugby, Ireland)
11. Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland)
10. Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints, Wales) #821
9. Conor Murray (Munster Rugby, Ireland) #790
1. Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland)
2. Ken Owens (Scarlets, Wales) #829
3. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland)
4. Iain Henderson (Ulster Rugby, Ireland) #808
5. Alun Wyn Jones – Captain (Ospreys, Wales) #761
6.Tadhg Beirne (Munster Rugby, Ireland)
7. Justin Tipuric (Ospreys, Wales) – Back row #786
8. Jack Conan (Leinster Rugby, Ireland)

Replacements:
16. Jamie George (Saracens, England) #819
17. Wyn Jones (Scarlets, Wales)
18. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #818
19. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, England) #826
20. Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby, Wales) #779
21. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland)
22. Owen Farrell (Saracens, England) #780
23. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, England) #816

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