The British & Irish Lions defeated Japan 28-10 in the warm-up for their South Africa tour on Saturday but it was costly as the match was overshadowed by a shoulder injury for captain Alun Wyn Jones, meaning he is out of the tour.
The veteran Welsh lock was forced off after eight minutes supporting his left arm, seemingly in distress and helped by a doctor.
The Lions management later confirmed he will not travel with the team to South Africa. Jones appeared in the stand after the match as the Lions celebrated the win, but they were muted celebrations as the team knew their skipper was not going to be on the plane with them.
"His shoulder dislocated. We're getting it scanned but it's looking like we'll have to replace him," Lions coach Warren Gatland told reporters. "It's very disappointing. He's been around rugby long enough but he'll be gutted. We need to call someone in, get them PCR tested and hopefully get them on the flight tomorrow."
The better news for coach Warren 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.
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.
They struck first after 13 minutes when Bundee Aki blasted through and Wales wing Josh Adams took advantage of the space to open his try account.
Scotland’s South African-born winger Duhan van der Merwe sneaked round from the back of a ruck for the second try and Ireland centre Robbie Henshaw ran in the third, all converted by Dan Biggar to give them a 21-0 halftime lead.
Ireland’s Tadhg Beirne got the fourth try 10 minutes into the second half but the home fans expecting a thrashing were forced to think again.
Japan had struggled to get any sort of foothold in their first ever game against the Lions and were unable to generate any of the quick possession their livewire backs thrive on.
But as the second half went on they began to link better and make ground and were rewarded when Kazuki Himeno was bundled over from a line-out after an hour.
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.”
The Lions play the first match of their eight-game, three-Test South Africa tour in Johannesburg on July 3.
British & Irish Lions: Captain Alun Wyn Jones out of South Africa tour in win over Japan