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.
"This tour has got us focussed after the disappointment of the provincial season for all the provinces. It's got us back together on track. We have I suppose, one of the strongest sides that we have ever brought on tour.
" Two years ago when we went down to New Zealand we were missing a number of players and similarly down to Australia last year for the World Cup. I think realistically this is the first time we have a good chance coming down here to get a Test win.
"Just walking around here and down in Cape Town you can see that they're rugby-mad. Everyone on the street comes up to you and says, 'best of luck in the game,' but you don't know which way to take it, to be honest with you. So it's going to very hard, especially playing the first Test in Bloemfontein.
The South Africans are a bit of an unknown side to us so there's a couple of variables there that go against us. But having said that there is a lot of confidence in the team at the moment."
One of the big difficulties that is envisaged playing in the open Test, is a location that is 5,000 feet above sea-level and Dempsey is well aware of what he faces.
"Yes, there's been a lot of talk about that. I met Brendan Venter and he was saying no matter how you deal with it (playing at altitude) it's very hard to adjust. Your lungs are going to burn and there's just nothing you can do about it.
"With the timeframe we had, we didnt have enough time on this trip to get here to acclimatise so the best system they say for us is to go in 48 hours before the game so you don't have to acclimatise as much.
" But there's no doubt, it's going to be a factor in the last 20. I think it's going to be a key issue for us and I think at that stage, the game, if it's on a knife-edge, could go either way."