Murrayfield has reportedly fought off competition from Dublin’s Aviva Stadium and Principality Stadium in Cardiff to host a British and Irish Lions warm-up test ahead of next year’s tour to South Africa.


According to, the Edinburgh venue is leading the charge to host a clash between the Lions and Japan in what would be the composite side’s first match in the United Kingdom or Ireland since their encounter with Argentina in Wales in 2005.

Staging the fixture in the Scottish capital would appeal to the Celtic market, with the report stating that the Lions are eager to target ticket sales at Welsh and Irish fans as well those within Scotland.

Video Spacer

Video Spacer
In conversation with Schalk Burger

With an estimated 30,000 Lions fans expected to make the trip to South Africa for the eight-match tour in 2021, plenty of those tourists will presumably make up a large contingent of the 67,000-capacity stadium.

The fixture would act as a significant money-spinner for the Lions, with the Independent reporting that the match could generate about £5m for the organisation.

By contrast, all gate takings throughout the tour in South Africa will go the host union.

While the Lions have occasionally faced teams aside from their regular SANZAAR opponents throughout their 132-year history, but never have they faced off against Japan.


The challenge of going head-to-head with one of the most storied international teams of all-time would presumably be warmly welcomed by the Brave Blossoms, who have flourished on the international scene over the past five years.

Following their shock win over the Springboks at the 2015 World Cup under Eddie Jones, Japan have gone from strength-to-strength under the guidance of Jamie Joseph, who took over from Jones four years ago.

The high-octane style of play that Joseph and assistant Tony Brown implemented at the Brave Blossoms culminated in a maiden quarter-final appearance at last year’s World Cup in Japan following upset victories over Ireland and Scotland in pool play.

Mailing List

Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.

Sign Up Now