Lions director to keep ‘open dialogue’ over player release for Japan friendly

  • Lions director to keep ‘open dialogue’ over player release for Japan friendly

Lions director to keep ‘open dialogue’ over player release for Japan friendly

Murrayfield is to host the British and Irish Lions for the first time next summer when Japan visit the Capital.

The British and Irish Lions will play Japan at Murrayfield in June ahead of their 2021 tour of South Africa, it was announced Wednesday.

Speaking of the friendly against Japan, head coach Gatland said: "They are a talented side who play high-tempo rugby, so it'll be a good challenge for us".

Tickets for the match will go on pre-sale on November 3 with supporters able to register their interest at lionsrugby.com/Vodafone-1888-Cup from Wednesday.

Japan head coach Jamie Joseph believes the game against the Lions will provide great exposure to the players.

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.

World Cup host nation Japan reached the tournament's quarter-finals past year, beating Ireland, Scotland, Samoa and Russian Federation in the pool stage before bowing out to eventual winners South Africa.

However, despite a series of offers from the Lions, including compensation and also moving the dates of the tour, the Premiership has refused to move its final and reiterated that its players would not be released to take part in the fixture - even if they were not involved in the final - as the match falls outside World Rugby's regulation nine, which governs player release for internationals.

'It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our players, and we can't wait for it to come'.

Calveley, though, is confident the Lions' first Test in Scotland will be a memorable occasion all the same.

The Lions' eight-game tour to South Africa kicks off on Saturday, July 3, 2021 when they play Vodacom Super Rugby's DHL Stormers in Cape Town. The Lions have never previously played in Scotland, so it is sure to be an exciting moment for fans.

The agreement, which marks the first time an agency has been appointed to distribute media rights on behalf of the Lions, will also see RDA distribute broadcast rights for airlines and cruises.

But the Welsh, Irish, Scots and Saracens picked will be able to take to the field days before the Lions fly to South Africa.