Cape Town - Ireland No 8 Jamie Heaslip has heaped praise on his Springbok counterpart Duane Vermeulen ahead of their clash at Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday.
Heaslip, in an interview with Netwerk24, said Vermeulen outshone All Black Kieran Read during the recently completed Rugby Championship.
Vermeulen was heroic in the Boks' last Test against the All Blacks when he played cracked ribs. He was named man-of-the-match as the Boks won 27-25 to claim their first win over the All Blacks since 2011, and first under Heyneke Meyer as coach.
"I carefully studied the Boks' loose forwards and Duane offers a lot. I would say that he was the best No 8 in the Rugby Championship. He outperformed Read," said Heaslip.
South Africa and Ireland have played each other on 21 occasions. The Boks have won 16, Ireland four with one match ending in a draw.
The last meeting between the two teams was a close encounter, which South Africa won 16-12 in Dublin two years ago.
Saturday's Test kicks off at 19:30 (SA time).
15 Rob Kearney, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Peter O'Mahony, 5 Paul O'Connell (captain), 4 Devin Toner, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Jack McGrath
Substitutes: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Rodney Ah You, 19 Mike McCarthy, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Eoin Reddan, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Felix Jones
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Bakkies Botha, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 JP Pietersen