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Adams starts for British and Irish Lions opener against Japan

First Team News | 22nd June 2021

Cardiff Blues star Josh Adams lines up on the wing as British and Irish Lions get their campaign underway against Japan at BT Murrayfield on Saturday (KO 3pm).

The Welsh international will wear the famous red jersey for the first time as he links up with Edinburgh's Duhan van Der Merwe and international team-mate Liam Williams in the back three.

Adams, who has an impressive 17 tries in 32 caps on the international stage, is Cardiff Rugby's 61st British and Irish Lion selection.

The side is captained by Ospreys lock Alun Wyn Jones, with Dan Biggar steering the ship from the number 10 jersey.

Bundee Aki, Rory Sutherland, Zander Fagerson, Tadhg Beirne, Hamish Watson and Jack Conan also join Adams in making their Lions debut in The Vodafone Lions 1888 Cup clash.

The match will be played in front of 16,500 at the home of Scottish Rugby, while Cardiff Arms Park will open its doors for a live screening of the encounter.

Speaking ahead of the first ever clash between the Lions and the Brave Blossoms, head coach Warren 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 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. 

“Everyone in the squad will get a start before the start of the Test Series, so each member of the squad can put their hand up for Test selection. 

“We are absolutely delighted to be playing in front of sixteen thousand supporters in Edinburgh. I’m sure the crowd will give the players an enormous lift before we depart for South Africa on Sunday.”  

Following Saturday's encounter in Edinburgh, the Lions contingent travel to South Africa where they kick off the tour against Cardiff's fellow United Rugby Championship outfit, Emirates Lions, in Johannesburg on July 3.


THE BRITISH & IRISH LIONS vs JAPAN – The Vodafone Lions 1888 Cup - Saturday 26 June 2021, BT Murrayfield Stadium, KO 3.00pm

15. Liam Williams (Scarlets, Wales) #833

14. Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby, Wales) 

13. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #824  

12. Bundee Aki (Connacht Rugby, Ireland) 

11. Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland) 

10. Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints, Wales) #821

9. Conor Murray (Munster Rugby, Ireland) #790

1. Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland)  

2. Ken Owens (Scarlets, Wales) #829

3. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland) 

4. Iain Henderson (Ulster Rugby, Ireland) #808

5. Alun Wyn Jones – Captain (Ospreys, Wales) #761

6. Tadhg Beirne (Munster Rugby, Ireland) 

7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland) 

8. Jack Conan (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) 


16. Jamie George (Saracens, England) #819

17. Wyn Jones (Scarlets, Wales) 

18. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #818  

19. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, England) #826   

20. Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby, Wales) #779

21. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland)

22. Owen Farrell (Saracens, England) #780 

23. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, England) #816