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The Lions suffered another Scottish-flavoured setback at Friday night's jersey presentation

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images)

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The Lions suffered another Scotland-flavoured setback ahead of Saturday’s match versus Japan in Edinburgh as bubble restrictions resulted in Doddie Weir, the 50-year-old veteran of the successful 1997 tour to South Africa, being unable to present the match jerseys to the team in their hotel on Friday night.

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Presentation of the jerseys is usually a massive deal with the Lions and Warren Gatland had hoped to tap into the Scottish psyche by getting Weir involved in the jersey presentation. However, that grand plan was scuppered by the safety restrictions surrounding the squad ahead of their departure to South Africa for their eight-match, three-Test tour.

The unavailability of Weir to hand over the jerseys was the latest Scottish-type setback in a week that thankfully culminated in 16,500 fans being present at Murrayfield to watch the match versus the Japanese.

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When Gatland originally unveiled his XV for the game last Tuesday, his selection included four Scottish starters but that number was halved by kick-off time as a concussed Hamish Watson and a back-spasmed Zander Fagerson had to drop out.

They were replaced by Justin Tipuric and Tadhg Furlong, alterations which resulted in the Lions fielding an XV containing seven Irish players, six Welsh and just two Scots in a team that contained no English player for the first time since 1950.

A social media post by the Lions on Saturday showed Gatland addressing his squad at the Friday night jersey presentation. He said: “It’s a very special occasion when we get a chance to present the Lions jersey. We had initially asked Doddie Weir to come and do that but unfortunately, because of the restrictions, it was unable to happen.

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“To Doddie, on behalf of the British and Irish Lions, we want to wish you and your family all the very, very best and I’d like to say just keep fighting hard, mate. To the new caps, congratulations, you get the honour of wearing the Lions jersey for the very first time, the famous red jersey, and I know you will go out there and give it your very best.”

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