Heaslip expects battle with Boks

New Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip has braced his team-mates for a bruising collision with South Africa at Aviva Stadium tomorrow.

The Irish have won three of their past four meetings with the Springboks, but the most recent encounter was a 23-21 defeat in the opening game at the rebuilt Lansdowne Road.

Five of Heaslip's 53 caps have come against South Africa, including three Test appearances for the Lions, and he knows what to expect.

"South Africa are a very confrontational side and they don't make any bones about that," he said.

"They try to run over you or through you with their forward pack and provide nice ball for their backs to run around you.

"You can't afford to give away any penalties because of the kickers they have. They are clinical.

"They got one over us last time and we don't like losing in our back garden. It will be a full house on Saturday and the place will be rocking.

"We want to give the Irish people something to cheer about."

Heaslip was "humbled" at being asked to lead Ireland for the first time as succession planning for the post Brian O'Driscoll and Paul O'Connell era began.

With O'Driscoll, O'Connell and Rory Best injured, coach Declan Kidney has turned to the 28-year-old Leinster number eight for the captaincy.

"I was in Baggott Street getting my mate an engagement card when I got the heads up from Declan about it," Heaslip said.

"I was in Tesco and I didn't know what to do with myself. I felt like going out and celebrating. It felt like my first cap again.

"It's great. I rang my parents straight away and I'm humbled by the decision. I'm proud to lead this group.

"Once we get onto the pitch everyone will be on automatic pilot because we have such great leaders within the team.

"It's talking after the dinner that's got me more nervous than anything else."

Hooker Richardt Strauss, born in South Africa but eligible for Ireland on residency grounds, makes his Test debut while full-back Simon Zebo makes his first start.

Uncapped forwards David Kilcoyne, Michael Bent and Iain Henderson are included on the bench.

  • Click to stay connected with more stories like this
  • Sign up here to receive news by email. Once per day, no spam.

Most Read in Sport