Friday 19 January 2018

Lions vs All Blacks; Ireland vs Japan: What time is kick-off and what TV channel are the games on?

Jack O'Toole

Joe Schmidt's Ireland will kick off a huge weekend of rugby on Saturday morning when they take on the Cherry Blossoms in the second of two tests in Tokyo, before Warren Gatland's Lions side take on the All Blacks later that morning in Auckland. Here's everything you need to know about both games.

When and where are the Tests?

The first clash between Ireland and Japan will take place tomorrow morning from the Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo, while the Lions will play New Zealand at Eden Park in Auckland, where New Zealand have not lost a Test match since 1994.

What time is kick-off?

Ireland will kick-off against Japan from 06:40am (IST) while the Lions and All Blacks will get underway a little over two hours later at 08:35am.

What TV channel is it on?

The Irish match will be broadcast live on Eir Sport 2 with coverage beginning at 06:30am, while the Lions match will be shown live on Sky Sports and Sky Sports HD as well as Sky Go, their online media player.

What is the team news?

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt. (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt. (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has made six changes to the side that trounced Japan 50-22 in Shizuoka last weekend with Ulster second-row Kieran Treadwell set to receive his first start after making his international debut off the bench last week.

The 21-year-old's Ulster teammate Jacob Stockdale has also earned a recall and will come into the starting side for Simon Zebo, while in the midfield, his provincial teammate Luke Marshall will start at inside centre in place of Rory Scannell who drops to the bench.

Elsewhere in the backline Connacht scrum-half Kieran Marmion will start at nine in place of Leinster halfback Luke McGrath, who drops out of the matchday squad entirely for John Cooney who has been promoted to the bench.

Meanwhile in the forwards James Tracy is one of three changes in the pack with the Leinster hooker set to replace Niall Scannell in the front-row, while Kieran Treadwell and Josh van der Flier will come into the starting side for Quinn Roux and Dan Leavy respectively.

Ireland: Andrew Conway; Keith Earls, Garry Ringrose, Luke Marshall, Jacob Stockdale; Paddy Jackson, Kieran Marmion; Cian Healy, James Tracy, John Ryan; Kieran Treadwell, Devin Toner; Rhys Ruddock (c), Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan.

Replacements: Niall Scannell, Dave Kilcoyne, Andrew Porter, James Ryan, Sean Reidy, John Cooney, Rory Scannell, Tiernan O'Halloran.

Meanwhile for the Lions, Peter O’Mahony will captain the tourists for the opening Test match against the All Blacks after head coach Warren Gatland sprung a number of major surprises in selection.

O’Mahony captains the side in the absence of Sam Warburton, who has failed to force his way into the back row, in a side that also features Wales wing Liam Williams at full-back and England’s Elliot Daly in a new-look back three.

Warburton becomes the first tour captain to miss the first Test in 87 years after Doug Prentice dropped himself on the tour of New Zealand in 1930, with Ireland flanker Sean O’Brien starting at openside flanker.

O’Mahony’s elevation to the blindside position represents a remarkable rise for the Munsterman, who only secured his place on the tour after a man-of-the-match display performance for Ireland against England in the final game of the Six Nations after he was given an 11th hour starting place after Jamie Heaslip was injured in the warm-up.

The Munster captain has also only led Ireland on three occasions but displaces Warburton, who had been short of game time because of a knee and ankle injury, on the back of his outstanding line-out displays and ferocious physicality.

Lions: Liam Williams, Anthony Watson, Jonathan Davies, Ben Te’o, Elliot Daly, Owen Farrell, Conor Murray; Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Tadhg Furlong, Alun Wyn Jones, George Kruis, Peter O’Mahony (c), Sean O’Brien, Taulupe Faletau

Replacements: Ken Owens, Jack McGrath, Kyle Sinckler, Maro Itoje, Sam Warburton, Rhys Webb, Jonathan Sexton, Leigh Halfpenny.

All Blacks

New Zealand captain Kieran Read has recovered from injury and will captain the All Blacks in Saturday's first Test against the British and Irish Lions.

The Crusaders number eight last played more than seven weeks ago, when he suffered a broken thumb while on Super Rugby duty.

But he is fit agin to pack down in the All Blacks' back-row alongside Jerome Kaino and Sam Cane as New Zealand look to extend their long unbeaten run at Eden Park.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has sprung a surprise on the left-wing, though, handing Rieko Ioane a first Test start instead of the more experienced Julian Savea.

Elsewhere, World Cup winner Sonny Bill Williams lines up in midfield with a fit-again Ryan Crotty, with Crotty replacing Anton Lienert-Brown following last week's 78-0 victory over Samoa.

New Zealand: B Smith; I Dagg, R Crotty, S B Williams, R Ioane; B Barrett, A Smith; J Moody, C Taylor, O Franks, B Retallick, S Whitelock, J Kaino, S Cane, K Read (capt).

Replacements: N Harris, W Crockett, C Faumuina, S Barrett, A Savea, TJ Perenara, A Cruden or L Sopoaga, A Lienert-Brown.

What are they saying?

Joe Schmidt:

“We know it will be tougher this weekend. They would have worked hard during the week, we have done the same and I think with a couple of the younger players (that Japan have brought in) we have got to potentially work harder to get the scoring positions we got last week

Warren Gatland:

"Alun Wyn Jones knows himself there was a big call to be made between him and Maro, and it was a toss of a coin, and he knows he is under pressure and he's got to go out there and perform and give a big performance, personally," Gatland said, ahead of the showdown at Eden Park.

"That was a tough call. Alun Wyn played well against the Crusaders, Maro was outstanding against the Maori.

"We had one of the longest selection meetings I have been in for a while - an hour and 20 minutes. Normally, they don't take too long."

Graham Rowntree on Peter O'Mahony:

"He has that Paul O'Connell kind of DNA in him, being a Munster man," Rowntree said of O'Mahony as he spoke ahead of Wednesday's Lions team announcement.

"He is a good guy as well, very diligent, not afraid in training of saying, 'Lads, this isn't good enough'.

"You look at his game last Saturday night (against the New Zealand Maori). His involvements were high and effective. I thought he dealt with the referee well as well, respectfully speaking to the referee without being in his ear too much.

"I have enjoyed working with him. I've coached against him for a long time, and he is always a handful when you are playing against Ireland.

"I think he was one player who would have been earmarked from an early stage for a Lions tour. He is exactly the character you need - a guy who would get on with things if he wasn't involved in the Test squad.

"He is a good fella. I can't speak highly enough of him. The lads respect his actions and want to follow him."

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