JAPAN coach Jamie Joseph has all but ruled out the prospect of his team playing Scotland as a warm-up for their match against the British & Irish Lions at BT Murrayfield on 26 June. 

Gregor Townsend revealed last month that there had been discussions about a Test against the Japanese, but it now looks more likely that his own team’s summer schedule will consist of away games against Georgia and Romania and a third against another nation - with Spain and England still both possible opponents.

The Japanese have not played an international since the 2019 World Cup, when they beat Scotland in the pool stage en route to a quarter-final defeat by South Africa.

Joseph, who has named a preliminary squad of 52 for the Lions match, said in a media conference yesterday that his team would have a warm-up game domestically before heading for the UK, but played down the chances of having another against Townsend’s team days before the Lions game.

“I doubt it,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of time to prepare for our match. We haven’t played since the last World Cup. Scotland have played quite a few matches since then, and we’ve got a wee ways to go.

“It [the Lions game] gives us a crucial starting point for our World Cup preparations. It’s a one-off, unique opportunity for us. There’s certainly no way that I would put added pressure on the group or the organisation by trying to get warm-up games.

“It hasn’t been confirmed, but we’ve got a game planned to play in Japan prior to leaving, but it’s the best form of preparation we could manage. It can’t be an international match because everybody has to isolate for two weeks. It will be a domestic, made-up team. Who will be playing has yet to be confirmed.”

Scotland coach Townsend outlined the prospects for his team’s summer activities the day after they had beaten France in their final Six Nations game. “We don’t know yet who we are playing,” he said then. “Georgia, Romania and Spain are options.

“Japan are playing the Lions, so we may be able to do something around them. There are discussions around that. There are also discussions around playing England in a friendly, whether it is a development or an A game, so I am hoping that in the next two or three weeks we will be able to put some fixtures together."