Alan Quinlan recalls a particularly hostile reception in South Africa during the 2004 tour

This is the first time that Ireland have returned to South Africa for a test series in 16 years

Alan Quinlan recalls a particularly hostile reception in South Africa during the 2004 tour

Brian Lawless / PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Irish rugby team resume their international duties this afternoon when they face South Africa in Cape Town.

Ireland go into this test series on the back of a disappointing quarter-final from the World Cup and a dour Six Nations campaign. That being said, Connacht's historical Pro12 win could provide buoyancy for Joe Schmidt's side who have four representatives of the western side in the squad.

And in terms of a performance record in South Africa, Ireland have lost just seven times to the hosts. 

Today is the first time since 2004 that Ireland will travel to play the Springboks in a test series. CJ Stander, Richardt Strauss and the uncapped Quinn Roux are all natives of this land and former South African international Thinus Delport has cautioned them on the possibility of a frosty reception.

And as Alan Quinlan describes in his weekly column in the Saturday Independent, the Irish team were not warmly received on their visit 16 years ago.

He writes that the team bus was careering towards the stadium when a gathering of South African fans began goading them and surrounded the bus.

"F*** you, you Irish b*****," they shout. Then they start shaking the bus and for five long minutes we sit there, waiting for this gate to open, trying to stay calm on the inside while this madness is ongoing on the outside."

"Their players hit us hard on the field, their fans pelt us with oranges and other bits of fruit off it. A sub that day, I pick up one of the oranges I'm hit with and return it to the sender with a little bit of force."

"Welcome to South Africa. This is what you have to expect. They don't like losing at home - not that they particularly enjoy it on their travels, either - but, a little like the French, they have an especially strong attitude to defending their own patch."

"And this is what the Irish players have to bear in mind. There will be hostility, off the field as well as on it. The Springboks attitude will be: "How dare you even think you can win!" Never mind that in the last six meetings in Dublin, Ireland have won four times."