No England players in XV as Jones leads Lions vs Japan

Warren Gatland’s side face Japan at Murrayfield before travelling to Johannesburg to begin their tour of South Africa; Watch every match from the British & Irish Lions’ tour to South Africa where they will take on the world champion Springboks exclusively live on Sky Sports this summer

Last Updated: 22/06/21 11:28am

Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones will start against Japan at Murrayfield

Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones will start against Japan at Murrayfield

Alun Wyn Jones will lead the British & Irish Lions in their warm-up Test against Japan on Saturday, with Dan Biggar and Conor Murray partnering at half-back.

There are no England players in the starting XV, though Owen Farrell – who was one of the Saracens contingent to arrive at the Lions camp late after helping to guide their side back to the Premiership on Sunday – has been named on the bench along with hooker Jamie George, Anthony Watson and Courtney Lawes.

Liam Williams has been given the full-back duties, with Wales team-mate Josh Adams and Scotland flyer Duhan van der Merwe on the wing, while Ireland pair Robbie Henshaw and Bundee Aki form the midfield.

Iain Henderson will partner Jones in the second row, with Tadhg Beirne and Hamish Watson the starting flankers alongside Jack Conan at No 8 – the loose trio among eight Lions debutants for Saturday’s fixture.

Scottish props Rory Sutherland and Zander Fagerson will pack down between Scarlets No 2 Ken Owens in the front row.

A crowd of 16,500 will attend the clash in Edinburgh that serves as the curtain raiser to the eight-game tour of South Africa.

“We’re anticipating a tough game against Japan – a side that like to play at a high-tempo and shift the ball,” coach Warren Gatland said.

“We saw throughout the World Cup they have attacking threats across the park and a solid defence and set-piece.

Robbie Henshaw will partner Bundee Aki in the midfield

Robbie Henshaw will partner Bundee Aki in the midfield

“I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made during our training camp in Jersey so far, but we’ve got 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.

Warren Gatland says the Lions are "in a good place" ahead of their warm-up Test

Warren Gatland says the Lions are “in a good place” ahead of their warm-up Test

“We are absolutely delighted to be playing in front of 16,000 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: 15 Liam 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 Zander Fagerson, 4 Iain Henderson, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 6 Tadhg Beirne, 7 Hamish Watson, 8 Jack Conan.

Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Courtney Lawes, 20 Taulupe Faletau, 21 Ali Price, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Anthony Watson.

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