Japan coach Jamie Joseph sprung a surprise Thursday when he named his 23-man squad to take on Australia on Saturday at Nissan Stadium.

Harumichi Tatekawa, who was expected to miss the first two games of the autumn test series, was named in the centers alongside Timothy Lafaele.

In a revamped backline, the pair will play outside Fumiaki Tanaka and Rikiya Matsuda, with Ryuji Noguchi and Lomano Lava Lemeki on the wings and Kotaro Matsushima at fullback.

(Stu Walmsley/RA Media)

Michael Leitch leads the side from blindside flanker and forms an athletic back row alongside No. 8 Amanaki Lelei Mafi and Shunsuke Nunomaki.

Kazuki Himeno wins his first cap in the second row where he will partner Uwe Helu, with Keita Inagaki, Shota Horie and Takuma Asahara in the front row.

"We have the return of some experienced players that weren't available for the World XV match, such as Horie, Asahara, Tatekawa and Lafaele," Joseph said.

"Fumi (Tanaka) also returns after we lost him in the first five minutes last week. Having those experienced guys against a very experienced Wallabies team is crucial."

"We had an injury to Tamura from the World XV game. He is fit to play, but it gives an opportunity to play Rikiya Matsuda. He's a young player who shows plenty of potential and promise, and he gets to test himself against one of the best teams in the world."

Joseph said Kenki Fukuoka would have been chosen on the wing but he has been suffering from flu all week and his absence paves the way for Noguchi to add to his 11 caps.

There are a further four debutants on the bench with prop Asaeli Ai Valu, lock Wimpie van der Walt, back-row forward Fetuani Lautaimi and center Sione Teaupa all in position to win their first caps.

"We don't have that many chances to play top level opposition before the Rugby World Cup," said Leitch. "We need to prepare throughly and be mentally sharp."

Earlier, Australia coach Michael Cheika was forced to reshuffle his backline as the result of injuries and illness.

Bernard Foley, Karmichael Hunt and Will Genia were all slated to start Saturday's game, the first time the two nations have met in Japan.

But illness, neck and calf injuries, respectively, have forced the trio pull out with Nick Phipps and Reece Hodge starting at halfback, Kurtley Beale shifting to fullback and Samu Kerevi coming in to join Tevita Kuridrani in the centers.

Cheika said fatigue was not an issue when selecting his team.

"Many players did not play last week against the Barbarians," he said after training on an outer field at the Stadium on Thursday.

"In relation to Will Genia, Foley and Hunt, they have all had injuries this week, otherwise they would have been selected in the team."

Cheika said he had spoken to Hodge, who plays most of his rugby on the wing, in August about being the backup flyhalf.

"There is something about him that I think will handle (the job) really well...and I am very keen and excited to see him play in that position."

While the backline shows plenty of changes from the one that started the recent 23-18 win over New Zealand in Brisbane, there is just one change in the pack with Ned Hanigan replacing the injured Jack Dempsey.

Sean McMahon, who is set to move to Suntory Sungoliath in the new year is named at No. 8, while former Panasonic Wild Knights back-row forward Ben McCalman will win his 50th cap if he comes off the bench.

Michael Hooper leads the side, which has plenty of experience with prop Sione Kepu winning his 88th cap, lock Rob Simmons his 79th, flanker Hooper his 76th and Beale his 68th.

Replacement hooker Stephen Moore, meanwhile, will play his 126th game for his country should he come off the bench.

Despite the huge gap in international experience, Cheika said he was expecting a tough game.

"In 10 years there has been a huge improvement," he said. "I honestly think they are a force to be reckoned with as they play rugby with their own unique style. We are very focused for a very difficult match."