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Ireland will have to prove the doubters wrong when tour South Africa in the summer, according to CJ Stander.
Joe Schmidt's side won the 2014 and 2015 RBS Six Nations but their quest for a third successive championship were effectively ended when they drew with Wales and lost to France in the opening two games.
After losing to England, they bounced back with wins against Italy and Scotland to finish third in the table and Schmidt will now turn his attention to June's three-Test tour in South Africa.
Stander, however, has revealed the Springboks have written off Ireland's chances but he believes they are up for the challenge.
"I have the family in South Africa, and they keep me up to date with what's going on there," said Stander. "They are writing us off over there because of a few losses here and there, and because we weren't chasing the Six Nations title.
"In your head going down to South Africa it's going to be a big challenge, you're going to have to be very physical, they are big boys.
"They are a great team, and everyone knows that.
"But if you're written off and categorised as the underdogs, then that's always something extra to fight for, to prove that wrong.
"So there's both sides to the story."
Stander started all five of Ireland's matches at blindside flanker and his impressive form is likely to be rewarded with a place in the squad for the summer tour.
With Munster team-mate Peter O'Mahony likely to be fit in time for the tour, Stander could find himself in a battle for the blindside position.
"Luckily we're good buddies, and that jersey is always going to be there for someone else," said Stander of the potential battle with O'Mahony.
"Boys are going to come back, there's always big competition in any team for the back-row.
"So it's going to be tough to keep that spot, but any player who wears that jersey, I'll support him and I know they'd support me too.
"I just wanted to give everything I had on the pitch to leave the shirt in a better place, and if it happens that I go on the summer tour, that would be great."