British and Irish Lions: Eight debutants to face Japan

The British and Irish Lions have picked four Scotland internationals to start Saturday’s historic home international against Japan in Edinburgh.

Warren Gatland: British & Irish Lions coach. Picture: Getty Images
Warren Gatland: British & Irish Lions coach. Picture: Getty Images

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.

The Murrayfield showdown that is being staged the day before the squad departs for South Africa is just the third Lions fixture on home soil and first against Japan.

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Eight players will be making their Lions debuts, including an all-new back row of Tadhg Beirne, Watson and Jack Conan, but there is an experienced half-back combination of Conor Murray and Dan Biggar.

Warren Gatland has chosen a powerful centre combination of Bundee Aki and Robbie Henshaw in a starting XV absent of English representation.

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.