George and Farrell on bench for Lions v Japan
Jamie George and Owen Farrell are both amongst the replacements for the British & Irish Lions who take on Japan at BT Murrayfield Stadium on Saturday 26 June (kick off 3pm) for The Vodafone Lions 1888 Cup.
The Saracens duo, fresh from leading the club back to the Gallagher Premiership on Sunday are straight in to action for the Lions, with Mako Vunipola, Maro Itoje and Elliot Daly not involved this weekend.
16,500 supporters will be welcomed to Scottish Rugby’s national stadium in Edinburgh for the first-ever clash between the Lions and the Brave Blossoms.
The game against the 2019 Rugby World Cup quarter-finalists will be shown live and exclusively on Channel 4 and raises the curtain for the Lions’ eagerly awaited Tour to South Africa, which culminates in a three Test series against Rugby World Cup champions, the Springboks.
“We’re anticipating a tough game against Japan – a side that like to play at a high-tempo and shift the ball,” said Gatland.
“We saw throughout the World Cup they have attacking threats across the park and a solid defence and set piece.
“I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made during our training camp in Jersey so far, but we’ve a long way to go. You can see that the squad are starting to get to grips with our game strategies, but, as always with a Lions Tour, this takes time to bed in.
“We’re in a good place though and I can tell there’s a lot more to come from this group.
“Everyone in the squad will get a start before the start of the Test Series, so each member of the squad can put their hand up for Test selection.
“We are absolutely delighted to be playing in front of sixteen thousand supporters in Edinburgh. I’m sure the crowd will give the players an enormous lift before we depart for South Africa on Sunday.”
The Lions’ eight-game Tour to South Africa kicks off on Saturday 3 July when they play the Emirates Lions at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg. Three weeks later, Cape Town Stadium will host the opening Test match of the 2021 Castle Lager Lions Series – the first Lions Test in the Mother City since 1997. The British and Irish tourists then return to Gauteng and play the second and third Tests at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday 31 July and 8 August respectively.
The Lions have toured South Africa on 13 previous occasions, with the first Tour taking place in 1891. In that time, the Lions have won four Test series, lost eight with one drawn. Their overall record against the Springboks is played 46, won 17, lost 23 and drawn six.
THE BRITISH & IRISH LIONS vs JAPAN – The Vodafone Lions 1888 Cup
Saturday 26 June 2021
BT Murrayfield Stadium
15 Liam Williams
14 Josh Adams
13 Robbie Henshaw
12 Bundee Aki
11 Duhan van der Merwe
10 Dan Biggar
9 Conor Murray
1 Rory Sutherland
2 Ken Owens
3 Zander Fagerson
4 Iain Henderson
5 Alun Wyn Jones (c)
6 Tadhg Beirne
7 Hamish Watson
8 Jack Conan
16 Jamie George
17 Wyn Jones
18 Tadhg Furlong
19 Courtney Lawes
20 Taulupe Faletau
21 Ali Price
22 Owen Farrell
23 Anthony Watson