Lions v Japan TV channel, kick-off time and team news

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It’s time to see what the 2021 British and Irish Lions can do. Here are all the details for today’s Lions v Japan match at Murrayfield

The game comes a week before the first match of the tour of South Africa against the Emirates Lions on July 3. The three-match South Africa Test series begins on July 24.

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Warren Gatland has named a strong team that contains six Wales players for today’s match, which will be played in front of 16,500 fans.

Here’s what you need to know. You can read all the Saturday morning rugby headlines here.

What time does Lions v Japan kick off?

The Lions v Japan game will start at 3pm in Edinburgh on Saturday, June 26. You can follow our live updates from the match here.

What TV channel is Lions v Japan on?

This match will be broadcast on Channel Four, the first time a Lions game has been on terrestrial TV for 28 years. The TV coverage begins at 2.15pm.

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All the games in South Africa, though, will be shown exclusively on Sky Sports.

Where to buy a Lions shirt

The new Lions kit is on sale now at Canterbury for £75 for the ‘pro’ version. It is also on sale on the official Lions store for the same price.

Special 2021 graphics t-shirts have been launched for the tour. They are on sale priced at £29 and come in five colours to represent the red of the Lions shirt and Wales, and the colours of the other nations. They are available here.

What’s the team news?

The Lions have actually been forced to make two changes since Gatland initially named the team on Tuesday.

Justin Tipuric has replaced the injured Hamish Watson, while Tadhg Furlong comes in for Zander Fagerson, with Kyle Sinckler promoted to the bench.

The Lions team v Japan: 15. 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. Tadhg Furlong, 4. Iain Henderson, 5. Alun Wyn Jones (capt), 6. Tadhg Beirne, 7. Justin Tipuric, 8. Jack Conan

Replacements: George, W Jones, Sinckler, Lawes, Faletau, Price, Farrell, A 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

Replacements: Kosuke Horikoshi, Craig Millar, Asaeli Ai Valu, Jack Cornelsen, Kazuki Himeno, Tevita Tatafu, Naoto Saito, Rikiya Matsuda.

Who will win today? Leave your prediction in the comments.

Lions v Japan facts

  • The British & Irish Lions will face Japan for the first time, in what will be their 659th game; Japan will become the eighth different Test playing nation to face the Lions (Argentina, Australia, Canada, Fiji, France, New Zealand and South Africa).
  • This match between the British & Irish Lions and Japan will be played at BT Murrayfield in Edinburgh, the first time a Lions game has been held in Scotland and only the fourth time a game will be played at a venue in the UK or Ireland (also Twickenham, Cardiff Arms Park and the Principality Stadium); they have a balanced record at home with one win, one draw, one loss, 55 points scored and 54 conceded on aggregate.
  • The British & Irish Lions are unbeaten in the opening game of their last 12 tours (W11, D1), last losing their opening game in 1971 against Queensland (11-15); they did draw, however, the last time they began a tour against a Test playing nation (25-25 v Argentina in 2005).
  • Japan have won eight of their last 10 Tests (L2), with their two defeats in that run both coming against South Africa; they have won their last four Tests against European opposition, as many as in their previous 13 such games (D1, L8).
  • Alun Wyn Jones will play his 21st game with the British & Irish Lions; he has scored 2 tries for the Lions, each one coming in the first game of a tour (v Royal XV in 2009 and the Barbarians in 2013).

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