Kotaro Matsushima and Yu Tamura are notable inclusions in the Japan team to take on Ireland in Saturday's Autumn Nations Series opener at the Aviva Stadium.

Matsushima missed last week's defeat to Australia, while Tamura was a replacement that day, but both players are drafted into a strong starting XV which contains 11 starters from July's 39-31 defeat to Ireland in Dublin.

Two of those changes from that day are recent additions to Jamie Joseph's squad, with winger Dylan Riley and blindside flanker Ben Gunter having made their debuts against the Wallabies.

"The Irish have a very experienced forward pack and they’re going to look to target our setpiece, both our scrum and lineout," said Joseph.

"When we’ve been successful in the past, we’ve done well with our setpiece, so this will be crucial on Saturday. If we can create enough opportunities when we have the ball, then we’ve got some very exciting backs that can create, and score tries.

"We’re expecting the Irish to target us with a lot of contestable kicks, so we’ve selected a back three that we feel are best placed to handle that aspect of the Irish game.

"In terms of the team and our journey, we’ve got one eye on Saturday’s Test match, which will be a huge challenge for us, and the other looking at different combinations.

"It’s still early days in terms of our World Cup preparations and only our fourth game in two years, due to the impact of the pandemic."

Japan: Kotaro Matsushima; Dylan Riley, Timothy Lafaele, Ryoto Nakamura, Siosaia Fifita; Yu Tamura, Yutaka Nagare; Keita Inaki, Atsushi Sakate, Jiwon Gu; Jack Cornelsen, James Moore; Ben Gunter, Pieter Labuschagne (c), Kazuki Jimeno.

Replacements: Yusuke Niwai, Craig Millar, Asaeli Ai Valu, Yoshitaka Tokunaga, Tevita Tatafu, Naoto Saito, Rikiya Matsuda, Ryohei Yamanaka.

Follow Ireland's November internationals v Japan, New Zealand and Argentina via our live blogs on RTÉ.ie/sport or the RTÉ News app, or watch live on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player. Live commentary on RTÉ Radio 1.

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