Ireland v Japan – Preview, Teams, Odds, Where To Watch

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Ireland play Japan in the first of their 2021 Autumn Nations Series games on Saturday afternoon at 1 pm at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

The two sides will meet for the second time this year in the same venue but with considerably more fans this time around, although not a sellout.

The pair met in July and Ireland won that nine-try meeting by eight points in what was the first of two Summer internationals.

Andy Farrell’s side head into their three Autumn internationals on a five-game win streak after turning around a slow start to this year’s Six Nations.

Japan will take a second test in the year against the boys in green as an opportunity to get revenge, earn their first win against Ireland outside of a Rugby World Cup and spoil Jonathan Sexton’s party.

Sexton captains Ireland and will earn his 100th cap, making him the latest Irish centurion and the first since Cian Healy, who will make his 110th appearance from the bench.

Regardless of who wins, Japan are expected to be the more exciting side with their innovative 1-3-2-2 attack still in use.

The likes of Ryoto Nakamura, Yu Tamura and Kotaro Matsushima will be huge threats to Ireland’s defence in Jamie Joseph’s system.

Ireland will hope that Hugo Keenan, in his 14th consecutive appearance for the side, as well as the midfield pairing of Bundee Aki and Garry Ringrose, in their first test together since October 2020, will offer the same in return.

But Ireland’s main weapon will be their powerful forwards – it’s no surprise that seven of those eight forwards are from Leinster considering how dominant Leo Cullen’s men can be in several aspects of the game.

The only exception to that is no surprise either – Tadhg Beirne has been a monster for Munster and Ireland and, undoubtedly, Ireland’s best player so far this year – look out for the tall man with the blue scrum cap.

Teams

Ireland

15. Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 13 caps
14. Andrew Conway (Munster/Garryowen) 25 caps
13. Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD) 34 caps
12. Bundee Aki (Connacht/Galwegians) 31 caps
11. James Lowe (Leinster) 6 caps
10. Johnny Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 99 caps CAPTAIN
9. Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 10 caps

1. Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD) 37 caps
2. Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne) 13 caps
3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) 49 caps
4. Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne) 22 caps
5. James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 37 caps
6. Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 9 caps
7. Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) 32 caps
8. Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 20 caps

Replacements
16. Dan Sheehan (Leinster/Lansdowne)*
17. Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 109 caps
18. Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers) 16 caps
19. Iain Henderson (Ulster/Academy) 63 caps
20. Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution) 76 caps
21. Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen) 89 caps
22. Joey Carbery (Munster/Clontarf) 24 caps
23. Keith Earls (Munster/Young Munster) 93 caps

*denotes uncapped player

Japan

  1. Keita Inagaki (Panasonic Wild Knights)
  2. Atsushi Sakate (Panasonic Wild Knights)
  3. Ji-won Gu (Honda Heat)
  4. Jack Cornelsen (Panasonic Wild Knights)
  5. James Moore (Munakata Sanix Blues)
  6. Ben Gunter (Panasonic Wild Knights)
  7. Lappies Labuschagné (C) (Kubota Spears)
  8. Kazuki Himeno (Highlanders)
  9. Yutoka Nagare (Suntory Sungoliath)
  10. Yu Tamura (Yokohama Canon Eagles)
  11. Siosaia Fifita (Hanazono Kinetsu Liners)
  12. Ryoto Nakamura (Suntory Sungoliath)
  13. Timothy Lafaele (Kobelco Steelers)
  14. Dylan Riley (Panasonic Wild Knights)
  15. Kotaro Matsushima (Clermont Auvergne)

Replacements

16. Yusuke Niwai (Yokohama Canon Eagles)

17. Craig Millar (Panasonic Wild Knights)

18. Asaeli Ai Valu (Panasonic Wild Knights)

19. Yoshitaka Tokunaga (Toshiba Brave Lupus)

20. Tevita Tatafu (Suntory Sungoliath)

21. Naoto Saito (Suntory Sungoliath)

22. Rikiya Matsuda (Panasonic Wild Knights)

23. Ryohei Yamanaka (Kobelco Steelers)

Odds

Ireland 1/12

Draw 33/1

Japan 7/1

Where To Watch

The match will be available to watch live on RTÉ 2 with coverage starting an hour before kick-off at 12 pm.

LiveScores Now Available at IrishScores.com

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