Late call-up Craig Gilroy says Ireland must seize any opportunities that come their way in the three-match series against the Springboks as they seek a first ever test victory in South Africa.

The Ulster wing is among four late inclusions in an injury-depleted Irish squad, who face an uphill task against the powerful former World Cup winners, starting with the first test at Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.

The 25-year-old was called up last week after four withdrawals and expects to get some game time to add to his six caps, the last earned against Georgia at the end of 2014.

"It's a great opportunity for a lot of guys, there is a good mix with some older and more experienced players and then we've got some new guys in who have never been capped before.

"There is huge opportunity there and a lot of players are coming off the back of a successful season." Gilroy said his initial disappointment was replaced by delight when coach Joe Schmidt sought his services after Leinster duo Dave Kearney and Luke Fitzgerald pulled out of the tour after picking up injuries at the end of last month.

"It's hard work to get into the squad -- a whole season's worth of work, even more so for a lot of guys. The first hard part is getting here and the second hard part is taking the opportunity," he added.

In addition to Saturday's opener, Ireland play tests in Johannesburg on June 18 and Port Elizabeth on June 25