Ireland head coach Andy Farrell says tomorrow's meeting with Japan at the Aviva Stadium will not be a dress rehearsal for next week's game against New Zealand.

Farrell yesterday picked a strong team to face the Brave Blossoms, with suggestions he could go with the same formula against the All Blacks seven days later.

As well as a starting team containing Johnny Sexton, and Lions Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Tadhg Furlong, Bundee Aki, Farrell has opted for an experienced bench, including Conor Murray, Iain Henderson, Peter O'Mahony and Keith Earls.

However the head coach is adamant there is scope for any of tomorrow's replacements, or indeed players outside the 23 to force their way into his plans for the visit of the All Blacks.

"It's 100% open," he said when asked of the selection to face New Zealand.

"I've never been a coach that promised anyone anything. I learned a long, long time ago never to shoot myself in the foot. You’ve got to earn your right to play."

One of those who firmly looks to be in Farrell's plans is Leinster scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park (below).

The 29-year-old is seemingly rated higher among the Ireland coaches than he is by his province, generally subbing for Luke McGrath at provincial level, but has been a consistent presence in Farrell's matchday squads since making his debut in 2020.

Gibson-Park gets the nod ahead of Murray for tomorrow's meeting with Japan, what will be his fifth start in Ireland's last seven games.

"He's started believing in himself at this level," Farrell says.

"He’s not just going about his job, making sure that he’s okay across his work, he’s comfortable with all that now. He’s able to lead, he’s come out of himself within the squad and therefore I think that’s relaxed him as well and we see his point of difference come out.

"Certainly in that game, that’s the speed of the game that we want him to play. He’s an instinctive player and he certainly did that, that day."

Meanwhile, the Ireland head coach remained coy on whether or not Robbie Henshaw is on track to face New Zealand next week.

The Leinster centre has stayed with the Ireland squad as he continues to rehab a foot injury, which has denied him any game time so far this season.

Farrell says they will give the 28-year-old every chance to prove his fitness, but won't rush him into a return.

"There's no pressure on Robbie. Robbie, he was on the outer last week doing his rehab, he's in camp this week still doing his rehab, he hasn't trained with us at all. He hasn't done much team work.

"If all goes well, there's a plan next week to reintegrate him into that type of thing. I've said to Robbie there's no pressure, it is what it is, when he's ready he's ready.

"There's no pushing from our side. We'll see how the coming days go for him."

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