Having linked up with the Springbok squad this weekend, Bath flanker Francois Louw has hailed the atmosphere in camp generated by the uncapped players.
Louw along with prop Steven Kitshoff (Bordeaux-Bègles) and Duane Vermeulen (Toulon) all joined the South Africa squad on Sunday.
Looking ahead to the series with Ireland the back-row expects a tough battle with Joe Schmidt's side despite their injury problems.
"It's the start of a new era with three tough games," he said.
"Regardless of their squad coming over and the injuries they've had, they will definitely pose a big threat and we'll have to step up our game."
New Springbok head coach Allister Coetzee named nine uncapped players in his first squad ahead of the three Tests and Louw has already picked up on the energy those new faces, including Sharks fly-half Garth April and Lions back Ruan Combrinck, have all brought into camp.
He revealed: "They're infectious. It's awesome to have the uncapped players involved with the squad fighting for a spot.
"That drives everyone around them because it's healthy pressure, which is what we need right now.
Those new caps and the retirements of several leading players such as Fourie du Preez and Victor Matfield after the Rugby World Cup now make Louw one of the senior players in the squad.
A regular captain with Bath in the Premiership, Louw added that he will do what he can to help new skipper Adriaan Strauss lead the side moving forward.
"What an honour for him to lead his country as captain, that's as great as it gets. I'll be happy to help where I can," Louw added.
"We're all supportive and we're all backing him as captain. It's important as players that we stand behind him and in this case we really do.