Cape Town - Ireland utility back Keith Earls expects an intensely physical encounter when they tackle the Springboks in Dublin on Saturday.
Earls, who boasts 62 Test caps, was part of the Ireland team that narrowly lost a series 2-1 to the Springboks in South Africa last year.
The Irish feel it was a series they should have won but Earls expects the Springbok team to be an improvement this Saturday.
“We have gone back looking at them videos: we were so close to winning a series down there and a lot of it was around our own mistakes that we have, hopefully, learnt from,” Earls told the Irish Times.
“But, look, it’s going to be a physical game on Saturday. It’s going to be the same, South Africa went through a poor patch there for a while but they seem to have found themselves again and they’re on the up. They’re going to be extremely dangerous and I think they’ll be better than 2016. You know it’s going to be physical and out wide they’re big and fast.”
Win or lose, Earls expects his team-mates to feel the physical effects afterwards.
“You always end up battered playing against them,” he continued.
Saturday’s Test is scheduled for 19:30 (SA time).