12 Dec, 14:42
Prop Cian Healy is expected to miss the start of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations after undergoing surgery on his injured ankle on Wednesday.
...The Springboks singing their national anthem in November 2004...
GREEN AND BLUE 'BOKS: While Ireland will don the white jerseys on Saturday that served them so well when South Africa last came to town in November 2004, Jake White's Springboks will not be wearing their usual kit at Lansdowne Road.
No, the 2006 'Boks are to doff their caps to their nation's first ever touring side, who paid Ireland and the UK a visit exactly a century ago, by wearing an exact replica of the 1906 kit.
That means White's charges will take to the Lansdowne sward wearing green jerseys with a white collar, blue shorts and blue socks. The move, initiated by White, will also see, unusually so for a Test match, the lack of a sponsor on the South Africans' jerseys.
White explained that Sasol, the 'Boks main sponsors, are backing the gesture all the way. He said: "I wanted us to mark the 100th year in another special way. We're doing plenty of things but I thought this was one more way we could acknowledge it.
"The sponsors and board thought it would be a great thing to do and were very supportive. The sponsors have certainly had to compromise on it with their name missing. But I think it's a great gesture on their part and a super way for us to celebrate the centenary."
For the record, Paul Roos' green-and-blue clad Springboks beat Ireland (15-12) and Wales (11-0), drew with England (3-3) and lost to Scotland (6-0) during the 1906 tour.
HABANA SET FOR MIDFIELD BERTH: Brian O'Driscoll and Gordon D'Arcy seem certain to come up against an untried South African centre partnership when Ireland and the Springboks lock horns for the fourth time since June 2004.
With a fractured hand ruling Jaque Fourie out of the tour, Jake White is expected to name noted winger Bryan Habana alongside Jean de Villiers in his midfield for Saturday's Test. All will be revealed when the team announcement is made tomorrow afternoon in the Dunboyne Castle Hotel.
Habana, who has won all 22 of his international caps on the wing, trained last week at number 13 and linked up well outside de Villiers in a training match against the Golden Lions Under-21s.
The Johannesburg-born flyer was uncapped when the 'Boks visited Dublin two years ago, and he made his debut against England, just a few days after Ireland's 17-12 defeat of White's men.
Habana, who has tallied up 16 tries in his two-year Test career, played at centre for the Golden Lions before becoming a Springbok. He was also a scrum half at school.
Squad newcomer Francois Steyn trained at inside centre at Monday's session at the Garda club in Westmanstown and should expect some game-time this weekend. South Africa's travelling party is minus some of their biggest names with Victor Matfield, Os du Randt, Percy Montgomery and Schalk Burger all either recovering from injury or being rested with the World Cup in mind.
NEW BALLS PLEASE: New kits and midfields aside, Saturday will also see Ireland and South Africa contend with the new Gilbert Synergie ball, the chosen ball for next year's World Cup, for the first time.
The respective players have been getting used to it over the past couple of days, as the Synergie ball only came off the manufacturing line late last week.
According to the makers, the ball is said to travel that bit further and more accurately than its predecessors, while making handling and passing easier.
...Ulster and Ireland's Rory Best...
SAY WHAT?: "I was in the East Stand. I was still at college and I wasn't even involved with Ulster at that stage. I was playing with Belfast Harlequins. I never thought while watching that game that I'd be in the Ireland 22 the next time the South Africans came over, so obviously, I'm exciting about this weekend's game."
- Ireland hooker Rory Best explaining exactly where he was when Ireland recorded only their second ever victory over the Springboks, beating them 17-12 at Lansdowne Road in 2004
"Beat the Irish to pieces...and then tackle the British Bulldogs and make them nauseous."
- The stirring advice delivered in Afrikaans by new South African manager Zola Yeye to his at last Friday's training session in Johannesburg
"I enjoyed having the summer off. It was good to recharge the batteries both mentally and physically. But I'm always so desperate to be involved in the Irish set-up because I really think we're building something special here."
- Ireland flanker Simon Easterby on coming back after sitting out the summer tour due to a series of head injuries
MATCH HISTORY: Played: 17; Ireland Won: 2; South Africa Won: 14; Draw: 1
November 2004 - Ireland 17 South Africa 12, Lansdowne Road
June 2004 - South Africa 26 Ireland 17, Newlands
June 2004 - South Africa 31 Ireland 17, Vodacom Park
November 2000 - Ireland 18 South Africa 28, Lansdowne Road
November 1998 - Ireland 13 South Africa 27, Lansdowne Road
June 1998 - South Africa 33 Ireland 0, Pretoria
June 1998 - South Africa 37 Ireland 13, Vodacom Park
June 1981 - South Africa 12 Ireland 10, ABSA Stadium
May 1981 - South Africa 23 Ireland 15, Newlands
January 1970 - Ireland 8 South Africa 8, Lansdowne Road
April 1965 - Ireland 9 South Africa 6, Lansdowne Road
May 1961 - South Africa 24 Ireland 8, Newlands
December 1960 - Ireland 3 South Africa 8, Lansdowne Road
December 1951 - Ireland 5 South Africa 17, Lansdowne Road
December 1931 - Ireland 3 South Africa 8, Lansdowne Road
November 1912 - Ireland 0 South Africa 38, Lansdowne Road
November 1906 - Ireland 12 South Africa 15, Balmoral Showgrounds, Belfast