Warren Gatland gives update on Alun Wyn Jones injury
Alun Wyn Jones Justin Tipuric has been ruled out of the tour to South Africa with as the British and Irish Lions' 28-10 victory over Japan at Murrayfield came at a terrible cost.
The Wales forwards departed inside the opening 21 minutes but it was the serious injury suffered by tour captain Jones that caused the greatest alarm as he was escorted from the pitch.
It was a ruck clear-out that caused the damage and Lions boss Warren Gatland later confirmed their second row talisman, who was set to take part in his fourth tour but first as skipper, could not take his seat on board Sunday's flight to South Africa.
Tipuric's afternoon ended following a tackle shortly after, his disconsolate look as he exited down the players' tunnel suggesting his suspected shoulder issue was also significant.
Wales' Adam Beard and Josh Navidi have been called up as replacements.
Ireland's Conor Murray has been named as Jones' replacement as captain for the tour to South Africa.
Injuries aside, it was a rousing start to the tour by the Lions who amassed a 21-0 lead by half-time through tries by Josh Adams, Duhan van der Merwe and Robbie Henshaw and three Dan Biggar conversions.
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Tadhg Beirne touched down early in the second half as the onslaught continued, the tries making up for a business-like performance that launched the tour with an impressive win.
Attack coach Gregor Townsend billed Japan as the most dangerous opening opponents in Lions history, but they were a pale shadow of the side that electrified the 2019 World Cup.
This was their first outing since staging that tournament so rustiness was inevitable, but the high-energy swashbuckling style that eventually met its match in the quarter-finals against South Africa was seen only briefly.
The Lions' medics and Japan's defence experienced equally frantic openings as Jones' afternoon was declared over in only the eighth minute.
Courtney Lawes came on as his replacement and once they had overcome the shock of losing their skipper, the Lions engineered their first meaningful attack that finished in a try for Adams.
Bundee Aki used his strength to pierce through Japan's defence and when the ball was recycled Adams' footwork and an outstretched arm got the scoreboard moving.
Another hammer blow landed when Tipuric followed Jones off the pitch in the 22nd minute but for all the departures, the Lions were amassing points at a ferocious rate as Henshaw powered over the whitewash.
Japan were losing the collisions and slipping off tackles, inviting pressure onto themselves as the strength of Van der Merwe continued to make indentations and it looked bleak when half-time arrived.
Although not pretty, it was hugely effective as the rampaging Lions continued to outmuscle their opponents and Lawes had a try disallowed for failing to ground the ball properly.
There was no doubt about Beirne's touchdown, however, as the Irish lock ran a smart line off Biggar's pass and showed real pace as Japan fell further behind.
Replacement back row Kazuki Himeno burrowed over from a line-out move as the Brave Blossoms finally made an impact on the scoreboard but their late flourish was too little, too late.
Gatland confirmed that Jones will return to Wales on Sunday when the squad leave for South Africa.
The injury looked significant as he left the Murrayfield pitch gingerly holding his left arm and although he appeared back in the stands for the second half, the Lions' worst fears had already been realised.
"The decision's pretty much made. I was speaking to the physios and they've spoken to Alun Wyn. He understands the very best case scenario is that he may get back for the Tests," Gatland said.
Jones' Wales team-mate Tipuric also departed in the first half after suffering a shoulder injury
Gatland added: "It's disappointing for Alun Wyn and also for Justin Tipuric if he is not right, but we have to do it right.