The Springboks enjoyed a well-deserved recovery day on Thursday after training on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and will wrap up their on-field preparations with their captains run on Friday.
Commenting on the threats posed by Ireland, Etzebeth said: “They have a good pack of forwards, and we saw against New Zealand that they have a strong maul and scrum. In fact, they won quite a few scrum penalties in that series, and adding to that they are very clinical at the breakdowns. So, they are a well-rounded team.”
Etzebeth added: “They banked a series win against the All Blacks in New Zealand earlier in the year and they are currently ranked the No 1 team in the world, so this will be a great test for us.
“The fact that we are facing them in the Rugby World Cup next year will also spice up the clash, but for us as a team that will be a different challenge on its own. We have a long tour ahead, and this is only the first match, and that is how we are approaching it as a team.”
The Springboks will face France in Marseille, Italy in Genoa and England in London in their remaining tour matches in the next three weeks, while the SA ‘A’ team will face Munster and Bristol in two additional midweek matches on Thursdays 10 and 17 November respectively.
Of the team’s preparations, Etzebeth said: “We trained in the rain yesterday and earlier in the week in dry conditions, so we are ready for either one on match day.”
When quizzed about the team’s 38-3 defeat in their last outing in Dublin in 2017, Etzebeth - who was a member of that side - said although was a tough pill to swallow at the time, this was a new match all together for the teams.
“I was part of the team that played here in 2017, but both sides have other game plans and different teams now, so we are expecting a big challenge on Saturday,” said Etzebeth.