WARREN GATLAND has named four Scottish players in his starting Lions XV, and named another on the bench, ahead of Saturday’s match against Japan at Murrayfield.
Rory Sutherland will play his first match since dislocating his shoulder at the end of March at loose-head prop, with countryman Zander Fagerson at tight-head. Hamish Watson is at open-side flanker and Duhan van der Merwe has been named on the left wing. Meanwhile, Ali Price is replacement scrum-half.
It will be the first time the Lions have played on Scottish soil and the squad will fly out to begin their eight match (three Test) tour of South Africa the following morning.
“We’re anticipating a tough game against Japan – a side that like to play at a high-tempo and shift the ball,” said head coach 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.”
British & Irish Lions (v Japan at Murrayfield, Saturday 3pm): L Williams; J Adams, R Henshaw, B Aki, D van der Merwe; D Biggar, C Murray; R Sutherland, K Owens, Z Fagerson, I Henderson, AW Jones, T Beirne, H Watson, J Conan.
Replacements: J George, W Jones, T Furlong, C Lawes, T Faletau, A Price, O Farrell, A Watson.
- The Lions’ eight-game Tour to South Africa kicks off on Saturday 3 July when they play the Emirates Lionsat 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 Stadiumin Johannesburgon Saturday 31 July and 8 August respectively.