Boss, 26, who has professed his love for the Ulster fry-up, has impressed for the province this season and could be sprung from the bench to earn his third cap. He was capped twice on the summer tour to New Zealand and Australia.
Brian O'Driscoll takes a breather from training at Lansdowne Road. The 27-year-old Leinster centre has scored 28 tries for Ireland to date - his last effort, against New Zealand in June, was his third try against one of the Southern Hemisphere's big teams - he dotted down against Australia (November 2003) and South Africa (June 2004) previously.
Ulster hooker Rory Best who will make his first start for Ireland this evening. The Belfast Harlequins clubman has been a composed figure all week, admittedly "just keeping calm, rehearsing my roles and lineouts in my head."
Today's Test match marks Neil Best's fourth straight appearance for Ireland - he has made full use of injuries to Johnny O'Connor and Simon Easterby to bed himself into the Irish back row. The Ulster flanker will be playing at Lansdowne Road for the first time since scoring a try against Romania twelve months ago.
Hoping to hang onto the number 6 jersey, Best said: "If I don't play well, I get dropped. This is not my shirt at all. The World Cup's a year away, so I'm not going to think about that. I couldn't tell you what I'm doing next week - I live my life day to day!"
Donncha O'Callaghan was one of four starters from Cork Constitution in the Ireland side for last November's Test match against Australia. For today's encounter with South Africa there are two Con players - O'Callaghan and Denis Leamy - in the Irish starting line-up.
O'Callaghan's second row partner Paul O'Connell believes South Africa will be as competitive as ever in the lineout, despite their first choice combination of Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha being left back home.
He said: "Matfield and Botha are missing and Matfield is probably one of the best second rows in the world. So you might think that when you take a guy like that out of the squad that they'd be weaker but then somebody like Albert Van Den Berg comes in. We've seen a lot of footage of the Currie Cup and Super 14 - he's an excellent forward and lineout operator. That's the way it is in the Southern Hemisphere."
Peter Stringer receives some help with his leg stretches as he prepares for what will be his 70th Test match for Ireland. The Munster scrum half has won all 69 of his caps in Ireland's last 74 games. Today will mark the 45th time that he and his school mate Ronan O'Gara have partnered each other as Ireland's half-backs.
Ulster's Bryan Young, who made his Irish debut as a replacement in the second Test against New Zealand last June, will provide prop cover again this evening.
Ulster's Paddy Wallace and Rory Best have, between them, represented their province 98 times but the pair have collected only four Ireland caps (all for hooker Best).
**All photos by Billy Stickland of Inpho Photography**
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