Irish players picked for the 2009 British & Irish Lions tour will be able to travel with some inside knowledge on the Springboks that they can pass on to head coach Ian McGeechan.
Gert Smal, Ireland's new forwards coach under Declan Kidney, was a key member of Jake White's 2007 World Cup winning coaching team and knows almost all there is to know about the current crop of Springbok forwards.
In addition to helping White mastermind their World Cup success in France last year, Smal was already on board as national forwards' coach when the Boks lifted the 2004 Tri-Nations Championship.
The 46-year-old former South African international flanker has signed a three-year deal with Ireland which will take him up to the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.
Smal played for the Springboks at the time they were ostracised from the game during the Eighties due to apartheid and earned his coaching spurs at the Border Bulldogs and Western Province - winning two Currie Cup tournaments at the start of the century before moving to Super 12 side the Stormers.
Now he will be instrumental to the form of potential 2009 Lions like Paul O'Connell, Donncha O'Callaghan, Denis Leamy, David Wallace and Jerry Flannery - and prime them on what they can expect when they collide with the Springboks.