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Autumn Nations Series Sellout unlikely with ticket sales extremely slow for Ireland vs Japan

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Ireland's Jonathan Sexton. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Ireland's Jonathan Sexton. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Ireland's Jonathan Sexton. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

The IRFU will be hoping for a late ticket surge this week ahead of Saturday’s Autumn Nations Series opener against Japan at the Aviva Stadium.

After the union were handed a boost with confirmation that full-capacity crowds are permitted at this month’s three Tests, next week’s showdown with New Zealand has sold out, but somewhat surprisingly, tickets for this weekend’s clash against Japan are still readily available.

It remains unclear if, come Saturday lunchtime, the remaining tickets will be snapped up, yet there are fears that the game will not be a sell-out, thus denting the potential income of the cash-strapped IRFU, who are still counting the financial cost of the pandemic.

The All Blacks were always going to draw the biggest attraction, but despite the fact that Andy Farrell is set to name a full strength team for what will be a tough challenge against an exciting Japanese team, the game hasn’t yet captured the imagination of many supporters, with ticket prices ranging from €60 to €100.

Tickets are also still available for Ireland’s clash with Argentina on November 21, with Farrell likely to juggle his resources for the third and final game of the Series.

Robbie Henshaw will hope to have recovered from a foot injury by then, as he remains in a race to be fit for the All Blacks game.

Uncapped Connacht winger Mack Hansen has been called up to the Ireland squad ahead of the Japan game, while development players Thomas Ahern (Munster) and Jamie Osborne (Leinster) have returned to their respective provinces having trained with the squad last week.

Farrell will name his team to play Japan on Thursday, with Johnny Sexton set to captain the side on what would be his 100th Ireland cap.

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