Murrayfield tipped to host Lions warm-up match

Edinburgh stadium the frontrunner for Japan clash in June 2021

SRU chiefs are confident they could sell out Murrayfield for a Lions fixture. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS
SRU chiefs are confident they could sell out Murrayfield for a Lions fixture. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS

BT Murrayfield is claimed to have emerged as the frontrunner to host a British and Irish Lions warm-up match against Japan in June 2021 ahead of next summer’s tour to South Africa.

Edinburgh appears to have edged ahead of Cardiff and Dublin in the race to host the match after Twickenham was ruled out as a potential venue at the start of the year as English Premiership clubs refused to alter the date of their Grand Final.

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The warm-up game was initially thought to be against France, Argentina or the Barbarians but now Japan, who the SRU have forged strong links with in the past few years, appears to be the favoured opposition if the Scottish bid is successful.

An SRU spokesman said: “It will be the first time the British Lions will have played in Scotland and obviously be something for fans and players alike to look forward to this time next year.

“We are excited by the possibility and would give the historic occasion the event it would deserve.”

The SRU is said to be confident it could sell out the national stadium, combining the occasion with a weekend “festival of rugby” in the Scottish capital, with ticket sales primarily aimed at the Celtic nations.

Back in February, when the possibility first emerged, the SRU said: “We are always open for business and have a track record of putting on big events beyond Scotland Test matches, such as football games, music concerts and European and Pro14 rugby finals.

“We have as rich a Lions history as any of the nations and it would be great to host the famous red jerseys on Scottish soil for the first time.”

Warren Gatland’s Lions are due to start their tour in South Africa against Stormers on 3 July, with the three-match Test series against the Springboks held between 24 July and 7 August.

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