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Familiar faces loom as Wallabies eye Japan

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The Wallabies have locked in a date to play Japan in Oita next month, where they could come up against a name etched in Australian rugby history.

Dave Rennie standing in front of a crowd: Coach Dave Rennie is pleased the Wallabies will play Japan to kick-start their Spring Tour.

Coach Dave Rennie is pleased the Wallabies will play Japan to kick-start their Spring Tour.

The October 23 Test will be the teams' first meeting since November 2017 and seventh in total, coming before the Wallabies play Scotland, England, and Wales on November's Spring Tour.

Australia beat Japan 63-30 in Yokohama four years ago but should expect a more formidable Cherry Blossoms this time given the tremendous growth of the Top League since then.

The Japanese league has benefited from the arrival of a host of former and current international stars but has also been a path for the next line of Australian talent seeking a professional start like Jack Cornelsen.

The son of former Wallaby star Greg Cornelsen, who in 1978 scored four tries in a win over New Zealand at Eden Park, left Australian rugby almost four years ago.

The flanker has flourished under Robbie Deans at the Wild Knights, debuting for Japan off the bench against the British and Irish Lions in June.

Fellow ex-pats James Moore and Ben Gunter are also in the mix to face the Wallabies after making the extended squad for that one-off Test.

"They showed everyone at the World Cup in 2019 that they are a top nation and can match it with the best," Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said.

"Jamie (Joseph) and Tony (Brown) have built a formidable squad that plays a really exciting, up-tempo style. 

"We need to continue to test ourselves with this variety of play, so this is an important match for us as we continue to build ahead of the next World Cup in France."

The Test will be Japan's first at home since hosting the World Cup.

"It is a hugely important moment for us to reconnect with our fans and the wider Japanese public, following the success of the 2019 World Cup," Japan coach Jamie Joseph said.

WALLABIES SPRING TOUR

v Japan in Oita, October 23.

v Scotland in Edinburgh, November 7.

v England in London, November 13.

v Wales in Cardiff, November 20

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