Declan Kidney insists injury hits Ireland far harder than South Africa as the teams prepare to meet at Aviva Stadium this afternoon.
Both sides have lost a host of big names to the treatment room with the Irish entering their Guinness Series opener without Brian O'Driscoll or Paul O'Connell, among others, but Kidney insists the Springboks have the playing resources to overcome their injury list.
"The tradition of South African rugby is the set piece and the physicality they bring," the head coach said. "The fact they have a few bangs and knocks.....well they have 600 professional players to our 120, giving them more depth to choose from."
He added: "They have a lot of exciting talent in their set up that we probably don't know much about. They're the third-best team in the world so they will be a huge challenge."
Little has gone Ireland's way as they seek to end a sequence of successive Test defeats dating back to England in the final match of the RBS 6 Nations.
Completing the run was the summer whitewash by New Zealand, who inflicted a humiliating 60-0 rout upon an Irish team that just a week earlier was on the brink of a first victory over the All Blacks.
Beating South Africa would ease the anguish of that result in June and fly-half Jonathan Sexton insists the experience could yet prove useful.
"We took a lot of positives from the first Test and then learnt a lot from the second," he said. "In that third Test we made three mistakes and were 21-0 down, then we were chasing the game which is very dangerous when you're playing the All Blacks.
"They picked us off and we've learnt from that if we ever go behind again, we'll never chase it that hard.
"If we can be in it with 20 minutes to go, well anything can happen in Test rugby. We're concentrating on our performance and trying to get things right when we have the ball."