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Jamie Joseph is prepared to take on the Lions (Getty Images)

Jamie Joseph is prepared to take on the Lions (Getty Images)

The British and Irish Lions kick-off their summer with a historic match at Murrayfield against Japan on Saturday.

The two sides have never played one another before and so the game is being built as a must-watch for all rugby fans.

For a lucky 16,500 supporters they will be allowed inside Murrayfield for the stadium’s first return of fans event.

And Japan’s head coach Jamie Joseph has said he will need experienced players and new stars coming into the fold to fire on all cylinders during the match.

He wrote in Rugby World: “One of the reasons we did so well at the last World Cup was because our team culture was so strong and things were player-led, and if those players weren’t there we would have to start all over again.

“So it’s great to have the likes of Michael Leitch, Lappies Labuschagne and Yu Tamura back in the fold.

“Having said that, we need some of the younger guys to come through as we look towards the World Cup in 2023. There are certain positions where we need to see if the players can handle the intensity of not just the games but the preparation blocks.”

When is the match?

The game kicks off at 3pm BST on Saturday June 26.

Where can I watch?

The match will be available to watch on Channel 4 and the coverage will begin at 2.15pm.

You can also stream it via All 4.

Team news

For the Lions, Hamish Watson has been ruled out of the match with concussion.

Head coach Warren Gatland has selected six Wales players, six Irish and three Scots in his starting 15.

Alun Wyn Jones will make his debut as Lions captain after clocking up numerous caps in previous tours. While seven stars will win their first caps including Zander Fagerson and Jack Conan.

No Englishmen feature in the starting XV but four are on the bench in Owen Farrell, Courtney Lawes, Jamie George and Anthony Watson.

While for Japan, no injuries have been announced in the squad that is being skippered by Michael Leitch.


British and Irish Lions: Liam Williams, Josh Adams, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Duhan van der Merwe, Dan Biggar, Conor Murray; Jack Conan, Justin Tipruic, Tadhg Beirne, Alun Wyn Jones (captain), Iain Henderson, Tadhg Furlong, Ken Owens, Rory Sutherland. Reserves: Jamie George, Wyn Jones, Kyle Sinckler, Courtney Lawes, Taulupe Faletau, Ali Price, Owen Farrell, Anthony Watson.

Japan: Ryohei Yamanaka, Kotaro Matsushima, Timothy Lafaele, Ryoto Nakamura, Siosaia Fifita, Yu Tamura, Kaito Shigeno; Amanaki Lelei Mafi, Pieter Labuschagne, Michael Leitch (captain), James Moore,Wimpie van der Walt, Jiwon Koo, Atsushi Sakate, Keita Inagaki. Reserves: Kosuke Horikoshi, Craig Millar, Asaeli Ai Valu, Jack Cornelsen, Kazuki Himeno, Tevita Tatafu, Naoto Saito, Rikiya Matsuda.


British and Irish Lions – 1/10

Draw -50/1

Japan -6/1


The Lions haven’t had long to gel as a team and with the quality displayed by Japan in the World Cup, the match could be tighter than fans are thinking. Rugby supporters also know how much Japan love an upset, with South Africa and Ireland knowing it all too well, so they will put up a fight. Lions 25 Japan 20.

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