Find out who Warren Gatland has picked for the 1888 Cup match at BT Murrayfield on Saturday

British & Irish Lions team to play Japan

Warren Gatland has named his first British & Irish Lions 2021 team, to take on Japan at BT Murrayfield on Saturday afternoon.

Alun Wyn Jones will captain the Lions in the pre-tour 1888 Cup fixture against the Brave Blossoms in Edinburgh.

Wales’ Dan Biggar and Ireland’s Conor Murray combine at half-back and there is an Irish centre pairing of Bundee Aki and Robbie Henshaw.

Liam Williams dons the No 15 shirt he wore in the 2017 Test series against the All Blacks and is joined in the back three by Josh Adams and Duhan van der Merwe.

Up front, Rory Sutherland and Tadhg Furlong will pack down either side of Ken Owens while Iain Henderson partners Jones in the second row.

There is an Irish-Welsh trio in the back row – Tadhg Beirne, Justin Tipuric and Jack Conan.

Scots Hamish Watson and Zander Fagerson had been due to start at openside and tighthead prop respectively. However, Watson suffered a concussion in training and is now going through the return-to-play protocol while Fagerson has been ruled out with a back spasm.

This will be the first Test Japan have played since reaching the quarter-finals of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Related: Japan coach Jamie Joseph on facing the Lions

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

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

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

The match kicks off at 3pm on Saturday 26 June and will be televised live on Channel 4.

British & Irish Lions team to play Japan

Liam Williams; Josh Adams, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Duhan van der Merwe; Dan Biggar, Conor Murray; Rory Sutherland, Ken Owens, Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, Alun Wyn Jones (captain), Tadhg Beirne, Justin Tipuric, Jack Conan.

Replacements: Jamie George, Wyn Jones, Kyle Sinckler, Courtney Lawes, Taulupe Faletau, Ali Price, Owen Farrell, Anthony Watson.

A total of 33 of the 37 players in the Lions squad are now in Jersey preparing for the tour of South Africa following the arrival of Tom Curry (Sale) and Kyle Sinckler (Bristol) on Sunday as well as Finn Russell (Racing 92) and the Saracens contingent of Elliot Daly, Owen Farrell, Jamie George, Maro Itoje and Mako Vunipola on Monday.

Ireland hooker Ronan Kelleher has also been training with the squad, although he hasn’t been officially added to the touring party.

Exeter’s four Lions – Luke Cowan-Dickie, Jonny Hill, Stuart Hogg and Sam Simmonds – will join up with the squad following the Gallagher Premiership final against Harlequins on Saturday.

Can’t get to the shops? You can download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.

Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.