Rugby / Irish Hope Their Reserves Are Better Than Boks'

Ireland has won three of the last four tests between the two teams.

DUBLIN - Ireland hope to exploit the Springboks' aversion to black jerseys when they meet at Lansdowne Road on Saturday.

South Africa's usual rugby opponent in black is arch foe New Zealand, but the Irish will debut their alternative black kit with green trimming. The Irish players like it, and they could do with some positive vibes.

They're still bruised from the 60-0 pasting from the All Blacks in their last outing in June.

"It's not a tour that any one of us is proud to have been on," winger Andrew Trimble said. "There's frustration at getting beaten so badly. It's a long time waiting to put things right. It can go one of two ways. You can dwell on it and divert down a bad path or you can bounce back from it. Hopefully we can bounce back."

Only seven starters from that nightmare in Hamilton will run out in Dublin, having less to do with reaction to that record hiding than the effect of a staggering number of injuries.

No. 8 Jamie Heaslip, groomed to take over from Brian O'Driscoll, will captain Ireland for the first time in the leadership vacuum left by the injuries to O'Driscoll and his regular deputy Paul O'Connell, who withdrew only on Wednesday when his back locked up again.

"He's the consummate professional," coach Declan Kidney said of Heaslip. "When he turns up for work he is really zeroed in. He is aware of what is needed. He has been around for five or six years now. We wanted to make sure it (captaincy ) was a progression."

Ireland has won three of the last four tests between the two teams.