Rugby-Murrayfield to host 16,500 fans for Lions test v Japan

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FILE PHOTO: Six Nations Championship - Scotland v England

(Reuters) - Murrayfield will allow in 16,500 spectators when the British & Irish Lions take on Japan on June 26 ahead of their tour to South Africa this year, the Lions said on Wednesday.

The move to let fans in in Edinburgh amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic was made after consultations with the Scottish government.

"It'll be brilliant to see a passionate crowd back at Murrayfield for what promises to be a superb game of rugby before we embark on the tour to South Africa," Lions Managing Director Ben Calveley said.

"It'll give the entire touring party an enormous boost to play this fixture in front of fans."

Scottish Rugby Chief Executive Mark Dodson said the move is an important first step to bring fans back to Murrayfield and a return to normality.

British fans will not be allowed on the South Africa tour - which will be held inside bio-secure bubbles in Cape Town and Johannesburg - while a decision is yet to be made over whether some home fans will be allowed to watch matches.

The first test against South Africa will be at the Cape Town Stadium on July 24, before the players move back to Gauteng for the second test a week later.

The series will be completed with the third test at the same venue on Aug. 7.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson)