Hamish Watson will not make his debut at Murrayfield on Saturday. PA

Lions replace Watson with Tipuric in starting line-up for Japan clash

The Scottish openside flanker is ruled out after sustaining a head injury in training on Tuesday.

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.

blues-v-british-and-irish-lions-eden-park Justin Tipuric representing the Lions in 2017. PA PA

It robs the 29-year-old of an early chance to impress the Lions management in the race to claim a back row 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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