Irish wing forward David Wallace believes this weekend's clash between European Grand Slam champions Ireland and world champions South Africa will be a classic despite bad blood between the sides.
South Africa are said to be gunning for Ireland because of disrespect by at least one Irish player who refused to go for a drink with the South Africans when the British and Irish Lions played South Africa in three matches in South Africa earlier this year
"I never detected any animosity. I wasn't aware of the invitation to join the Springboks, so I'm not the senior Irish player...." Wallace told The Irish Times.
"It was great to be picked for the Lions but at the end of the day we lost the series and we want to step it up a gear.
"It's brilliant to be getting another chance to play them so soon."
I don't believe for a second that South Africa won't be at their best because it's the end of a long season," said Wallace.
"They'll be very aware of what's at stake in the game and that it's being billed as the best of the northern hemisphere against the best of the southern hemisphere.
"They'll be turning up to win and because of what's at stake they'll give everything. They'll raise their game for this.
"South Africa are always very physical and have some quality players.
"They have world-class guys who can turn a game at any stage with moments of individual brilliance.
"They do the basics very well and punish mistakes ruthlessly." The major news for Ireland is that legendary out half Ronan O'Gara has lost his place to upstart Johnny Sexton but Wallace expects O'Gara, his Munster team mate to bounce back.
"Jonny (Sexton) is a fantastic player and it will be interesting to see how he goes," added Wallace.
"They're both good fly-halves. Ronan has been on top of his game for years and has always been the shoo-in.
"Now Jonny has stepped up to the mark. It's a tough period for Ronan but he's strong and will bounce back."
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