Sean O'Brien, who was also among the replacements for the Fiji game, came on for the injured Denis Leamy in the 44th minute to win his first Test cap.
O'Brien also featured for Ireland 'A' in the 48-19 victory over Tonga at Ravenhill earlier this month.
Leamy was undergoing rehabilitation throughout the week and while he has progressed well, the ankle injury has not recovered fully to allow him to take his position among the replacements.
Click here for the South Africa team selection.
IRELAND TEAM & REPLACEMENTS (v South Africa, GUINNESS Series 2009, Croke Park, Saturday, November 28, kick-off 2.30pm):
15 - Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster)
14 - Tommy Bowe (Ospreys)
13 - Brian O'Driscoll (UCD/Leinster) (capt)
12 - Paddy Wallace (Ballymena/Ulster)
11 - Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster)
10 - Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary's College/Leinster)
9 - Tomas O'Leary (Dolphin/Munster)
1 - Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster)
2 - Jerry Flannery (Shannon/Munster)
3 - John Hayes (Bruff/Munster)
5 - Paul O'Connell (Young Munster/Munster)
6 - Stephen Ferris (Dungannon/Ulster)
7 - David Wallace (Garryowen/Munster)
8 - Jamie Heaslip (Naas/Leinster)
16 - Sean Cronin (Buccaneers/Connacht)
17 - Tony Buckley (Shannon/Munster)
18 - Leo Cullen (Blackrock College/Leinster)
19 - Sean O'Brien (Clontarf/Leinster)
20 - Peter Stringer (Shannon/Munster)
21 - Ronan O'Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster)
22 - Gordon D'Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Related Links -
Can't make the game? You can still download the Ireland v South Africa match programme to your iPhone - click here.
Don't have an iPhone? Don't worry! You can keep up-to-date with all the Irish rugby news on your mobile - text IRFU to 51000.