Exclusive: Murrayfield emerges as favourite to host British and Irish Lions in pre-tour Test against Japan

Kate Rowan
Lions  - Getty Images Sport 

Murrayfield has emerged as the favourite to host the British and Irish Lions home Test match in June 2021.

Telegraph Sport understands that the Edinburgh venue is most likely to be chosen to stage the game against Japan on June 26, prior to the tour of South Africa.

Telegraph Sport revealed in February that a historic home Test would be played in one of the Celtic nations because the Rugby Football Union had indicated it was not prepared to make Twickenham available.

This was in order not to jeopardise their relationship with Premiership Rugby because the fixture is scheduled for the same weekend as the English domestic game’s showpiece final.

The Lions are due for an eight-match tour of South Africa, with this Test against Japan their first at home since they faced Argentina in 2005 in Cardiff.

Organisers are hoping that 67,000 capacity home of Scottish Rugby will be a sell-out with a further 30,000 are expected to travel to follow Warren Gatland’s men in South Africa.

Getty Images AsiaPac  - Getty Images AsiaPac 

In February, Telegraph Sport revealed that the Lions would raise around £5million from a home fixture. Revenue from match tickets in South Africa will go to SA Rugby.

Cornering the Celtic market and engaging in particular with a Scottish audience is seen as a desirable option given the nation has provided the smallest number of players in recent tours.

The fixture would also allow Warren Gatland an extra game to prepare his squad for three Tests against the reigning world champions and England’s Saracens contingent, who will be playing in the Championship next season, will almost certainly be available.

The Lions are due to play their first match in South Africa against the DHL Stormers in Cape Town on July 3, seven days after the Premiership final.

They will want to ensure there is no repeat of the chaotic start of their 2017 tour of New Zealand, when the squad arrived three days before their first game.