Channel 4 are in advanced talks to broadcast the British & Irish Lions’ opening fixture against Japan at Murrayfield this summer.
The rights for the series in South Africa have already been sold to Sky Sports, but reports from various outlets on Sunday has revealed the warm-up match is still open for bids.
It is the first-ever clash between the world’s greatest touring side and the Brave Blossoms and will raise the curtain for the Lions’ eagerly awaited tour to South Africa.
Warren Gatland, the Lions head coach, views the fixture as an important opportunity to fast-track preparations for the three-Test series against the Springboks, given that the tour has already been shortened by two games from the tour of New Zealand in 2017.
Lions Tour 2021 full fixtures
There is still some uncertainty about where some matches will be played. Here’s the latest schedule:
- Saturday, June 26… Japan… Murrayfield… Channel 4/TBC… KO TBC
- Saturday July 3… Stormers… Cape Town… Sky Sports… KO 7pm
- Wednesday, July 7… South Africa Invitational… Port Elizabeth… Sky Sports… KO 7pm
- Saturday, July 10… Sharks… Durban… Sky Sports… KO 7pm
- Wednesday, July 14… South Africa A… Mbombela… Sky Sports… KO 7pm
- Saturday, July 17… Bulls… Pretoria… Sky Sports… KO 7pm
- Saturday, July 24… South Africa… Cape Town… Sky Sports… KO 5pm
- Saturday, July 31… South Africa… Johannesburg… Sky Sports… KO 5pm
- Saturday, August 7… South Africa… Johannesburg… Sky Sports… KO 5pm
Sir Ian McGeechan picks SEVEN Englishmen in his all-time Lions dream team
- 15. Gavin Hastings (Scotland) – “He was strong under the high ball, could kick the ball a mile and was really strong in the contract, where you could play off him.”
- 14. Ieuan Evans (Wales) – “A favourite of mine who went on three Lions tours in 1989, 1993 and 1997. He was a lethal finisher.”
- 11. Tommy Bowe (Ireland) – “His influence on the games in 2009 was massive. He has speed and power, and of all the wingers I have seen he cuts the best lines and he does it so late, too,”
- 13. Jeremy Guscott (England) – “He was the runner but had the toughness too,”
- 12. Scott Gibbs (Wales) – “There are not too many backs who have total respect from the forwards, but Gibbsy was one of them. His physical work was huge.”