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British & Irish Lions select Murrayfield as host venue for pre-2021 tour Test

Lions head coach Warren Gatland

The Lions are to play a Test match on home soil next year for only the second time – against Japan at Murrayfield.

Scotland has won a three-cornered fight to host a Lions Test for the first time since Murrayfield opened its gates almost 100 years ago.

The Rugby Paper understands that the SRU has won the right to stage the match in the face of competition from Ireland and Wales.

It is scheduled to take place on June 26 next year, the day of the English Premiership final at Twickenham immediately before the Lions are due to leave for their three-Test series in South Africa.

Japan can be relied upon to give the Lions a run for their money as the Scots will vouch for from personal experience. Their 28-21 defeat at Yokohama last October condemned Gregor Townsend’s squad to an early exit while the whole of Japan celebrated their country’s break through into the quarter-finals.

Since their creation as the world’s most exclusive touring team, the Lions has only played only one ‘home’ fixture, a high-scoring draw against Argentina in Cardiff 15 years ago. It proved to be an ominous prelude for the Lions’ calamitous series in New Zealand under Sir Clive Woodward.

Ongoing talks over a global season could result in next year’s tour starting some three months later than planned, in October rather than July. An overcrowded season of conflicting interests means it will be the shortest Lions tour of all time with fixtures down an all-time low of eight.

PETER JACKSON

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