British & Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland says he’s wary of the threats Japan will pose after naming his squad to take on the Brave Blossoms at Murrayfield on Saturday (Lions 2/15, Draw 28/1, Japan 6/1 – Match Betting).
The Lions face Japan in Edinburgh before they head down to South Africa for the highly-anticipated Test series against the world champion Springboks (Lions 8/11, Draw 22/1, South Africa 6/5 – Series Winner).
Gatland has gone with an all-Celtic side to meet Japan, with no English players named in the starting XV.
Scotland props Rory Sutherland and Zander Fagerson start in the front row either side of Wales hooker Ken Owens.
Ireland’s Ian Henderson and skipper Alun Wyn Jones make up the second row, while Tadgh Beirne and Jack Conan feature alongside Hamish Watson in the back row.
There’s Lions experience in the half-backs with Connor Murray and Dan Biggar earning their starting jerseys.
In the centres, it’s the two Ireland internationals Robbie Henshaw and Bundee Aki, with Liam Williams, Josh Adams and Duhan van der Merwe in the back three.
There are four Englishmen on the bench, with Jamie George, Courtney Lawes, Owen Farrell and Anthony Watson all set to feature at some stage, along with fellow subs Wyn Jones, Tadhg Furlong, Taulupe Faletau and Ali Price.
Gatland is looking forward to seeing some of his squad get their first runs out in the famous red jersey and knows Japan will provide a good test.
“The crowd will give the players an enormous lift,” said Lions head coach Warren Gatland.
“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 a long way to go.”