VIDEO: Japan a 'sneak peek' on what B&I Lions plan for Boks
The British and Irish Lions are to give Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber and his analysts a sneak peek of what awaits in next months Test series.
B&I Lions defence coach Steve Tandy said they will be treating the game against Japan on Saturday as a full-blooded Test match and an opportunity to see how they implement the tactics they worked in training.
He said Saturday’s encounter with Japan at Murrayfield will be the first indication of what style the B&I Lions will play on tour in South Africa.
Tandy added that they have looked ‘long and hard’ at Japan, even though they have not played as a team since the 2019 World Cup.
However, with only a warm-up against the Sunwolves to gauge them on, they looked at “historical data” to judge the Japanese team on.
“We feel they will play a lot of rugby,” Tandy said, adding: “They will keep the ball for long periods, [there will be] lots of passes.
“While we have to be prepared for that, we have to instil what we have to do to be ready for the Test matches [against the Springboks].’
He said the key is to find the “balance” between wanting to beat Japan and start building for the trip to South Africa.
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Tandy said while victory is important on Saturday, the key is to start implementing the tactics they worked on in training.
He dismissed the notion that the encounter with Japan is a ‘curtain raiser’ and sees it as a full-blooded Test.
“Japan has some serious firepower,” Tandy said of Saturday’s opponents.
He added that the defensive challenges will be different, with South Africa having a more direct approach.
“They look to come through the front door, first and foremost,” he said of the Springbok approach.
“They [the Boks] do have special players out wide, but Japan plays with lots of variety and width.
“It is important that we quickly get up and running with our principles.
“If we can deal with Japan’s threats, it will hold us in good stead when we get to South Africa.”
* Meanwhile the B&I Lions have been reinforced by new arrivals – including their Saracens contingent – as they step up operations for Saturday’s historic clash with Japan and the trip down south.
Finn Russell (Racing 92, Scotland), Owen Farrell (Saracens, England), Elliot Daly (Saracens, England), Jamie George (Saracens, England), Maro Itoje (Saracens, England) and Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England) have all linked up with the touring party in Jersey on Monday.
All but Exeter’s four-strong detachment are present at the squad’s training camp in Jersey.
The Exeter quartet will not join up until after the Premiership Final against Harlequins this weekend.
“We’re keen to get the whole 37 together as quickly as possible and it’s great that is finally happening,” Tandy said.
“The Saracens players have got experience from Lions tours, winning European cups and Premierships, and know what it takes to connect the group.
“Everyone is really excited to get them on the training field and into the group.”
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Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby, Wales)
Bundee Aki (Connacht Rugby, Ireland)
Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints, Wales)
Elliot Daly (Saracens, England)
Gareth Davies (Scarlets, Wales)
Owen Farrell (Saracens, England)
Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby, Scotland)
Robbie Henshaw (Leinster Rugby, Ireland)
Conor Murray (Munster Rugby, Ireland)
Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland)
Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby, Wales)
Finn Russell (Racing 92, Scotland)
Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland)
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, England)
Liam Williams (Scarlets, Wales)
Tadhg Beirne (Munster Rugby, Ireland)
Jack Conan (Leinster Rugby, Ireland)
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, England)
Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland)
Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby, Wales)
Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby, Ireland)
Jamie George (Saracens, England)
Iain Henderson (Ulster Rugby, Ireland)
Maro Itoje (Saracens, England)
Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys, Wales)
Wyn Jones (Scarlets, Wales)
Ronan Kelleher (Leinster Rugby, Ireland)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, England)
Ken Owens (Scarlets, Wales)
Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, England)
Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland)
Justin Tipuric (Ospreys, Wales)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England)
Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland)