South Africa are hoping to put some challenging recent experiences to good use at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

Head coach Allister Coetzee sees his team go into the Test against Ireland in search of a first win in five games.

Two draws against Australia could easily have been turned into wins however, while their last outing was a morale boosting one-point loss to the All Blacks after a rallying comeback fell just short.

It is the start of the sequence, a harrowing 57-0 drubbing at the hands of the world champions, which made for grim viewing from a South African perspective.

Coming off the back of a dismal 2016 season – just four wins in the calendar year, a first home loss to Ireland, a first-ever loss to Italy, a  record loss to Wales, and heavy losses to New Zealand , it has been viewed as a period of transition for the two-time world champions.

The physical prowess of the Springboks has traditionally been their cornerstone, but forwards coach Matt Proudfoot has seen enough of the Ireland pack to know that standards will have to be high if parity is to be gained, never mind the upper-hand.

Proudfoot, the South African-born former Scottish international, was particularly taken by the Irish forward display in the Six Nations defeat at Murrayfield earlier this year.

There were just six scrums that day, but Ireland engineered three penalties and Tadhg Furlong’s destruction of Allan Dell was a notable feature of the first-half.

"A good scrum, like the Irish scrum, will put you in a position, like it did against Scotland in the Six Nations," he told RTÉ Sport.

"The Scotland defence was exceptional, but they just couldn’t get out of that situation. That’s what the scrum does."

‘The Beast’ Tendai Mtawarira has already this week acknowledged the power of Furlong and considers the Wexford man to be the outstanding tighthead prop in the northern hemisphere.

Coetzee and his coaching team had plenty to mull over following the series victory last summer where Ireland pushed their hosts to the pin of their collar, ultimately falling just short in the deciding Test in Port Elizabeth.

Proudfoot (above) says the gameplan executed by Ireland is one that needs to be met head on.

"Ireland have a really good defensive plan," he says.

"We felt that in June last year they frustrated us in our ability to get go-forward ball, the ability to tackle low and contest the ball on the ground.

"If you carry higher, they look to attack the ball in the air. They are very good in contact, frustrate you, and slow the ball down. That is all built from line speed.

"There are a few criteria that they need in order to generate that and we have worked to try and take advantage of that."

Down through the years, the scrum has been the rock that Ireland has perished on against the South Africans.

"I often refer to the scrum as the swim in the triathlon. If you come out of the swim 10th, you’re not going to win the triathlon" - Matt Proudfoot

Ireland have emerged victorious just six times in the 25 times the sides have met, and only once prior to 2004.

Gaining parity at the physical exchanges has been too great a challenge in the majority of the clashes, but Ireland’s improvement has coincided with huge difficulties within South African rugby.

The set-piece dominance once enjoyed by the Springboks has been watered down in the modern game.

"The game of rugby has evolved with the set-phase," Proudfoot explains.

"We learned that lesson hard in Albany [in the 25-24 defeat to the All Blacks]. There were only five lineouts and we couldn’t control the game, couldn’t get into the game.

"I often refer to the scrum as the swim in the triathlon. If you come out of the swim 10th, you’re not going to win the triathlon.

"Same with the scrum. You might not win games with the scrum as you would with the lineout, but you will definitely lose if you have a poor scrum.

"You have got to be efficient."

Ireland v South Africa (5.30pm kick-off), live on RTÉ 2 and the RTÉ Player from 4.30pm & on RTÉ Radio 1's Saturday Sport, with a live blog on RTÉ Online from 4.30pm.