10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations match in February, while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
See below for quotes from Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan from Friday's pre-match press conference at Lansdowne Road.
- ON BEING FAVOURITES -
"It's not anything we dwell on too long. Be it favourite or underdog, we still have to go out and play. It's not something we waste energy on.
"It's quite interesting we are favourites. It's great. They're interesting times when Ireland are favourites against a team like South Africa. But it won't matter when the ball is kicked off. It's about who gets the job done best. We'll know later whether it was a good or a bad tag to have."
- ON REFEREE PAUL HONISS -
"We've been involved with Paul quite a bit. Our last game with him was (against France) in Paris last year, when I thought he had a fine game. Really, we lost that game but we could have no complaints with Paul Honiss.
"We've a good relationship with him and the reason is that he is very clear in what he wants. He's very consistent and he''s very strong. And I think once the players are on a pitch with a referee like that, there's generally not any problem.
"I'm happy he's got the match. He calls it as he sees it and if he makes a mistake, it's a genuine one. He's right up there (with the top referees)."
...Brian O'Driscoll who will captain Ireland for the 31st time today...
- ON THE SOUTH AFRICAN SELECTION -
"Before South Africa named their team we had a stab at picking it ourselves and we were right. It's a strong, aggressive midfield with a trio of new caps in the back-three looking to cut loose.
"There's an element of surprise when you see three new caps in one unit, but obviously Jake (White) is confident they're up to Test standard and he has every right to be because they have a very good track record.
"They're exciting players and this is a good time to drop them in. Once Jake decided to leave some of the more established guys at home he was always going to blood some young players with World Cup potential."
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