Brian O'Driscoll hopes Ireland will use the November series to banish their inferiority complex over the Tri-Nations big guns as they edge closer to becoming a genuine force in the Test arena.
Ireland lost all three matches on their summer tour to New Zealand and Australia but felt they should have returned home with one victory after pushing the All Blacks close over both Tests.
They were comprehensively beaten by the same sides in Dublin last November but one-off wins over the Wallabies and Springboks in recent years indicate they can compete with the southern hemisphere heavyweights on their day.
With a settled team packed full of experience, there is a feeling Ireland may be on the brink of something special with the World Cup less than a year away.
O'Driscoll insists that belief is spreading throughout the whole squad and has demanded his Triple Crown holders show no fear when South Africa run out at Lansdowne Road on Saturday.
``You can't expect to win matches straight up, you have to realise that if you play well you will win. That's what it comes down to,'' he said.
``South Africa won't come here and lie down, allowing us to take over. We have to play well against these sides. They will be confident coming over here as well.
``The inferiority complex against the southern hemisphere is something we're trying to put behind us. Whether it's dead and buried yet we'll soon see.
``We've definitely developed this side over the last two or three years and I have a feeling we've come on from the Six Nations and the summer tour, even though we didn't win there.
``There has always been a core of guys who believed they could win those big games, but now there are more guys who believe it.
``It's when you get that total belief from one to 15 that you do it more consistently and that's what we need to do - we need to beat these big sides more consistently if we're to do it in a World Cup.
``The fact we pushed the Kiwis so close twice - one of those games was there for the taking - encourages us to go the extra yard and do whatever it takes to close out the game.
``Only through experience do sides like Ireland find out how to win. We getting closer and closer to where we want to be.''
Two years ago Ireland recorded only their second victory over South Africa, using some ill-advised comments from Springbok coach Jake White to fire themselves up.
White declared only three Ireland players would be good enough to make South Africa's squad and paid the price with a 17-12 defeat.
He has not made the same mistake this time around but Eddie O'Sullivan's side still find themselves in the unusual position of being favourites for Saturday's clash.
The Springboks, who are using the tour for development purposes, have rested several senior players - but O'Driscoll remains wary of giving his side the pre-match edge.
``Jake has been very complimentary this week, which is lovely of him. We like to think we're at a stage now when we don't need anything to motivate us,'' he said.