Lions legend Brian O’Driscoll could still renew his acquaintance with South Africa despite his latest injury setback.
The 31-year-old has not played since Leinster’s Heineken Cup win over Racing-Metro on October 9 because of a hamstring injury.
O’Driscoll featured in both the first and second Tests for the Lions against the Springboks in the summer of 2009 but injury prevented him from featuring in the third Test win in Johannesburg.
The Ireland skipper would dearly like to experience a repeat of his country’s impressive victory over the Boks last November and defence coach Les Kiss is quietly confident he will do just that.
"Brian is working very hard and over the last two or three days he has put in some good rehab work," said Kiss.
"The medical staff are doing a fantastic job with him.
"Talking to him after the session, he was very happy where he ended up.
"He has another rehab session and a couple of days rest where he will obviously be doing a little bit of stuff and we will see how he goes after that."
Ireland face the Boks in the first rugby international to be played at the new Aviva Stadium a week on Saturday.
They then take on Samoa a week later before challenging the All Blacks on November 27. The last of their autumn internationals takes place the following Sunday when Argentina are the visitors to Dublin.
The Ireland squad are currently based at their Limerick training camp but will move to Dublin at the start of next week.
Ankle-injury victim Keith Earls is still a major doubt for the opening game of the series, with the Lions tourist forced to sit out training yesterday.
The young centre would join the likes of fellow Lions Paul O’Connell and Jerry Flannery if he doesn’t recover in time for next Saturday’s game but, despite a frustrating list of absentees, Kiss insists preparations are going to plan.
"We've all been waiting to get together in preparation for a fairly tough schedule and the Springboks game first up has really been our focus," added Kiss.
"I have to complement the guys: they've come here and embraced the new ideas that the coaching staff have put on the table and they have added their own bits to the mix and we're grateful they have put in such a good performance this week."