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World player of the year Jonathan Sexton will play his first competitive match since the end of May in Ireland’s final Rugby World Cup warm-up match against Wales on Saturday.

The match offers both a final chance for some players to make an impression and break into the starting XV for the opening game in Japan and also an emotional final home test for both head coach Joe Schmidt and captain Rory Best.

“It is not something I have given a lot of thought about it was only when I came off the training pitch this morning and some woman was in tears saying this is the last time you walk off here,” said Best on Thursday.

“It is going to be a really big occasion when I look back on it but ultimately it is that the team performs and takes a massive step forward,” added 37-year-old Best, who will win his 120th cap.

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