Declan Kidney insists injury hits Ireland far harder than South Africa, who bring CJ van der Linde into their side as a late replacement.

Both sides have lost a host of big names to the treatment room with Ireland 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.

"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 four 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."

Meanwhile, there has been a late change for the Springboks with van der Linde replacing Tendai Mtawarira at loosehead prop following his late withdrawal.

Mtawarira was treated in hospital today after suffering mild heart palpitations.

Heinke van der Merwe, who has played in one Test for South Africa in 2007, will take Van der Linde's place on the bench.

A statement on South Africa's official website said: "The decision to withdraw Mtawarira is a precautionary measure after he had a recurrence of mild heart palpitations on Saturday morning.

"Mtawarira has been admitted to hospital for observation on Saturday morning. A decision on his continued participation on the tour will be taken at a later stage."

A further update said the 27-year-old was later discharged from hospital.