The British & Irish Lions will host Japan at BT Murrayfield Stadium on Saturday 26 June 2021 for the Lions 1888 Cup, the side has confirmed.
🚨 BREAKING NEWS 🚨
We will play @JRFURugby at @Scotlandteam's BT Murrayfield on 26 June.
This is not a drill people, the Lions are playing at home.#LionsRugby #ManeEvent #HomeTogether #RoarUsOut pic.twitter.com/yEQsM7EZX9
— British & Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) October 21, 2020
The first-ever clash between the world’s greatest touring side and the Brave Blossoms will raise 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.
Lions head coach Warren Gatland believes the 2019 Rugby World Cup quarter-finalists will provide a stern test for his squad before they depart for South Africa.
“We saw Japan play some excellent rugby during the World Cup and they will come to Edinburgh fully-motivated to win,” said Gatland.
“They are a talented side who play high-tempo rugby, so it’ll be a good challenge for us ahead of the Tour, and a chance for the matchday squad to put their hands up for Test selection.”
Japan head coach Jamie Joseph is also relishing the prospect of the fixture: “We are very much looking forward to playing a Test against the Lions next year.
“It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our players, and we can’t wait for it to come.”
Scottish Rugby’s 67,000-seater stadium in Edinburgh will host only the third Lions Test match on ‘home’ soil, following games in Cardiff against Argentina in 2005 and against a Rest of the World XV in 1986.
The Lions’ eight-game tour to South Africa kicks off on Saturday 3 July 2021 when they play Super Rugby’s Stormers in Cape Town. Three weeks later the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg will host the first Test – a venue which previously hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final.
The second Test follows on Saturday 31 July at the Cape Town Stadium – the first Lions Test in the Mother City since 1997 – before the British and Irish tourists return to Gauteng for the final Test on Saturday 7 August at Emirates Airline Park, the venue of the 1995 Rugby World Cup final.
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.