British & Irish Lions boosted by six new Monday arrivals
Owen Farrell and his England team-mates Elliot Daly, Maro Itoje, Jamie George and Mako Vunipola flew to the island on Monday morning after helping Saracens reclaim their place in the top flight with another thumping win over Ealing.
All of the Saracens players are Test Lions from 2017, Vunipola and Farrell also earning that distinction in 2013.
“We’re keen to get the whole 37 together as quickly as possible and it’s great that is finally happening,” defence coach Steve Tandy said.
“The Saracens players have got experience from Lions tours, winning European Cups and Premierships, and know what it takes to connect the group. Everyone is really excited to get them on the training field and into the group.”
Tandy, who has delivered a clean bill of health ahead of Tuesday’s team announcement, denies that the platoon of Saracens will be undercooked following a season battling for promotion from the Championship.
“They’ve enjoyed playing and have had a bit of rhythm coming into it. No doubt they’ll be prepared. They played in the Six Nations as well so there’s no doubt they’ll be fully ready to go,” he said.
Apart from the replacement fly-half and hooker, Warren Gatland will call on the players who have been in Jersey since last Sunday when he names his first team of the 2021 tour to South Africa.
The fixture against Japan is only the third time the Lions have played on home soil and it is their first outing against the swashbuckling 2019 World Cup hosts, who have been out of action since losing to the Springboks in Tokyo.
“You look at historical data in terms of how they’ll play and we still feel they’ll play a lot of football, keep the ball for long periods, lots of passes,” Tandy said.
“It’s something we’ve got to be prepared for while instilling what we want to be ready for come those Test matches against South Africa. It’s a balance.
“They’re definitely different to how South Africa play. South Africa will come through our front door first and foremost, so it will be a very different test for us, but an awesome test to see how quickly we can get up and running with our principles.
“If we can deal with Japan’s threats it will stand us in good test for the rest of the tour.”
Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby, Wales)
Bundee Aki (Connacht Rugby, Ireland)
Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints, Wales)
Elliot Daly (Saracens, England)
Gareth Davies (Scarlets, Wales)
Owen Farrell (Saracens, England)
Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby, Scotland)
Robbie Henshaw (Leinster Rugby, Ireland)
Conor Murray (Munster Rugby, Ireland)
Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland)
Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby, Wales)
Finn Russell (Racing 92, Scotland)
Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland)
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, England)
Liam Williams (Scarlets, Wales)
Tadhg Beirne (Munster Rugby, Ireland)
Jack Conan (Leinster Rugby, Ireland)
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, England)
Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland)
Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby, Wales)
Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby, Ireland)
Jamie George (Saracens, England)
Iain Henderson (Ulster Rugby, Ireland)
Maro Itoje (Saracens, England)
Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys, Wales)
Wyn Jones (Scarlets, Wales)
Ronan Kelleher (Leinster Rugby, Ireland)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, England)
Ken Owens (Scarlets, Wales)
Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, England)
Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland)
Justin Tipuric (Ospreys, Wales)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England)
Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland)
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