British & Irish Lions chairman Jason Leonard

British & Irish Lions pre-tour clash with Japan to be broadcast live by Channel 4

Live coverage of the British & Irish Lions will return to terrestrial television for the first time in nearly 30 years when Channel 4 broadcasts the pre-tour match against Japan from Murrayfield.

A first look at Warren Gatland’s Lions will take place in Scotland when the Brave Blossoms arrive on June 26, prior to the squad jetting off to South Africa on a seven-match tour.

Channel 4 will also show highlights of all three Tests against South Africa and All4 will show highlights of their tour matches against provincial sides.

The last time terrestrial television aired a live Lions match was back on the 1993 tour of New Zealand, as Sky Sports acquired the rights for the tour of South Africa four years later.

British & Irish Lions managing director Ben Calveley said: “We are delighted that Channel 4 are our broadcast partners for our first match on home soil since 2005.

“I am looking forward to the excellent coverage and analysis that Channel 4 will no doubt provide and going on the recent squad announcement I’m sure the interest and numbers tuning in will be considerablefor this clash.”

Channel 4’s head of sport Pete Andrews said: “This is set to be a mouth-watering contest with Alun Wyn Jones leading the Lions against the reigning world champions.

“It’s fantastic news for rugby fans who will relish the opportunity of seeing the British & Irish Lions in action on free-to-air television.”