Ireland vs Japan Rugby

British & Irish Lions pre-Tour Test match against Japan on June 26

A pre-Tour match between the British Irish Lions v Japan at Murrayfield, Edinburgh, for the Vodafone Lions 1888 Cup.

It is the first-ever clash between the world’s greatest touring side and the Brave Blossoms and will raise the curtain for the Lions’ eagerly-awaited trip to South Africa after it was confirmed the tour will go ahead.

Murrayfield will host only the third Lions Test match on ‘home’ soil, following games in Cardiff against Argentina in 2005 and a Rest of the World XV in 1986.

Warren Gatland, the Lions head coach, views the fixture as an important opportunity to fast-track preparations for the three-Test series against the Springboks, given that the tour has already been shortened by two games from the tour of New Zealand in 2017.

When is it?

  • Saturday, June 26.

What time is kick-off?

  • 3pm BST.

What TV channel is it on?

  • Channel 4!

Live coverage of the Lions will return to terrestrial television for the first time in nearly 30 years with this pre-Tour Test match against Japan.

The rest of the tour will be on Sky. However, highlights of all three Tests against South Africa will be on Channel 4 while All4 will show highlights of ALL the Lions Tour matches.

Japan will face the Lions with a squad that includes 19 players who helped the Brave Blossoms to the quarter-finals of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Head coach Jamie Joseph has announced a 36-man party to play a warm-up match against former Super Rugby team the Sunwolves on June 12 before facing the Lions at Murrayfield on June 26 and Ireland at Dublin on July 3.

The squad, captained by World Cup skipper Michael Leitch, includes 23 capped players with a total of 476 Test caps. It also contains 16 players who took part in the Japan Top League club final on Sunday, including seven from the champion Panasonic Wild Knights.

Japan are ranked 10th in the world but beat Ireland and Scotland on their way to the RWC quarter-finals before losing to eventual champion South Africa.

Japan squad

Forwards: Keita Inagaki, Asaeli Ai Valu, Shinnosuke Kakinaga, Jiwon Koo, Craig Millar, Yukio Morikawa, Atsushi Sakate, Shunta Nakamura, Kosuke Horikoshi, Mark Abbot, Wimpie van der Walt, Uwe Helu, James Moore, Naoki Ozawa, Ben Gunter, Jack Cornelsen, Pieter Labushagne, Michael Leitch (captain), Tevita Tatafu, Amanaki Lelei, Kazuki Himendo

Back: Koki Arai, Naoto Saito, Kaito Shigeno, Yu Tamura, Rikiya Matsuda, Shota Emi, Siosaia Fifita, Semisi Masirewa, Kotaro Matsushima, Lomano Lava Lemeki, Shane Gates, Ryoto Nakamura, Timothy Lafaele, Gerhard vand den Heever, Ryohei Yamanaka

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