Lions v Japan betting tips: Murrayfield test before South Africa tour
Preview and odds for Saturday’s match
The British and Irish Lions begin their preparations for the tour of South Africa when they face Japan at Murrayfield this weekend.
It is only the third time the Lions have played on home soil and a first meeting with Japan.
Saturday’s match is live on Channel 4 and kicks off at 3pm as we highlight a few potential Lions v Japan betting tips.
Lions v Japan match odds
The Lions fly out to South Africa on Sunday for an eight-game tour and will want to depart full of confidence by beating Japan in Edinburgh, which they are 1/9 to do.
They will be cheered on by 16,500 supporters at Murrayfield and four Scotland internationals have been chosen to start.
Wing Duhan Van Der Merwe, props Rory Sutherland and Zander Fagerson and flanker Hamish Watson will make their Lions debuts in a side led by tour captain Alun Wyn Jones.
Eight players will be making their Lions debuts in total, including an all-new back row of Tadhg Beirne, Watson and Jack Conan, but there is an experienced half-back duo of Conor Murray and Dan Biggar.
Lions coach Warren Gatland has chosen a powerful centre combination of Bundee Aki and Robbie Henshaw in a starting XV absent of English representation, with four players on duty for Exeter in Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership final.
There are four England players on the bench, however, where Owen Farrell and Jamie George provide fly-half and hooker cover respectively despite only arriving into the Lions’ training camp in Jersey on Monday.
Japan are playing their first game since hosting the 2019 World Cup when they famously beat Ireland and Scotland on the way to winning Pool A with a perfect record before losing 26-3 to South Africa in the quarter-finals.
Gatland said: “We’re anticipating a tough game against Japan – a side that like to play at a high tempo and shift the ball. We saw throughout the World Cup they have attacking threats across the park and a solid defence and set-piece.
“I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made during our training camp in Jersey so far but we’ve got a long way to go. You can see that the squad are starting to get to grips with our game strategies but as always with a Lions tour, this takes time to bed in.
“We’re in a good place, though, and I can tell there’s a lot more to come from this group.”
Lions team to face Japan
L Williams (Scarlets, Wales); J Adams (Cardiff, Wales), R Henshaw Leinster, Ireland), B Aki (Connacht, Ireland), D van der Merwe (Edinburgh, Scotland); D Biggar (Northampton, Wales), C Murray (Munster, Ireland); R Sutherland (Edinburgh, Scotland), K Owens (Scarlets, Wales), Z Fagerson (Glasgow, Scotland), I Henderson (Ulster, Ireland), A W Jones – Captain (Ospreys, Wales), T Beirne (Munster, Ireland), H Watson (Edinburgh, Scotland), J Conan (Leinster, Ireland).
Replacements: J George (Saracens, England), W Jones (Scarlets, Wales), T Furlong (Leinster, Ireland), C Lawes (Northampton, England), T Faletau (Bath, Wales), A Price (Glasgow, Scotland), O Farrell (Saracens, England), A Watson (Bath, England).
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication