The British & Irish Lions have today (Wednesday) announced that BT Murrayfield will host a match against Japan next year, in what will be only the third time the rugby union team has played a ‘home’ fixture.
The game in Edinburgh, Scotland will take place on June 26 and is intended to serve as a warm-up fixture for the Lions’ tour to South Africa. The Vodafone Lions 1888 Cup represents the first-ever clash between the world’s greatest touring side and Japan. Tickets for the historic fixture go on pre-sale on November 3.
Lions managing director Ben Calveley said: “A Lions Test is one of the most iconic events in world sport, but a huge number of fans from the home nations never get the chance to see one live. The Vodafone Lions 1888 Cup match will give even more supporters the opportunity to be part of the next chapter in Lions history. It will be an ‘I was there’ moment, against an entertaining and highly-respected opposition.”
The game at Scottish Rugby’s 67,000-seat stadium in Edinburgh follows matches played on ‘home soil’ in Cardiff against Argentina in 2005 and against a Rest of the World XV in 1986.
Mark Dodson, chief executive of Scottish Rugby and Lions board director, said: “BT Murrayfield Stadium has a long history of hosting major sporting events and is renowned among rugby fans as one of the iconic stadiums in the world game.
“The deep connection Scotland enjoys with the British & Irish Lions has helped to shape the rich history of the team with players, coaches and support staff all contributing to the success of the side down the years.”
In July, the Lions and SA Rugby announced the creation of a joint venture for the 2021 tour to South Africa which aims to unlock new revenues and reduce “inefficiencies” experienced during prior tours.
The news came just days after it was confirmed that the Lions’ tour of South Africa will go ahead as planned next summer, with FNB Stadium, Cape Town Stadium and Emirates Airline Park pencilled in to stage Test matches.
The COVID-19 pandemic had raised questions over whether the tour would be pushed back until the autumn but it will go ahead as initially scheduled from July 3 to August 7 next year.
Image: Scottish Rugby