Cape Town - Schalk Brits believes the best is yet to come from an evolving Springbok team, which he leads into action against Namibia in a second round Rugby World Cup pool clash at the City of Toyota Stadium on Saturday.
Kick-off is at 11:45 (SA time).
Brits runs out at the head of a much-changed line up - 13 changes in the starting XV - but the intent and strategy will continue the process of development that he has seen since being lured out of retirement just over a year ago.
"When Rassie (Erasmus, Bok coach) spoke to me I was sipping cocktails in Ibiza," said Brits. "There was never any talk of captaincy - it was just an opportunity to be part of a group of players for which Rassie had a vision.
"It has been exciting to be part of this group. Most of the players I played with and against are now retired or commentating and for me it was a move to see how I can fit in with this younger generation of players.
"From my perspective, it's unbelievable to see a group of players coming through and where we were 18 months ago and where are now - it's an upward path. I still believe we can do wonders in this World Cup. We are a group that's learning and learning quickly."
Brits (1.82m) will wear the No 8 jersey in the African derby and in an untried loose-forward combination with Kwagga Smith (1.80m) and Francois Louw (1.92m).
"I played eight for the Stormers quite a bit before I moved to Saracens," said Brits. "I would start at hooker and then move to No 8 during the second half when the game began to open up, so from that perspective I haven't played eighthman for a while.
"But I'm looking forward to the challenge and looking forward to playing with Kwagga and Francois in the loose trio - it's probably the shortest loose trio in world rugby but we're looking forward to it!"
Their focus and that of the team will be on putting in place the evolving game plan - not chopping and changing for different opponents, Brits said.
"Essentially for us it is about putting processes in place. We had a couple of learnings from our game against New Zealand and we want to change a couple of things and we'll be focusing on that," he said.
"The focus this week was predominantly on us - we didn't know what team they were going to pick - and hopefully we’ve learnt our lesson against New Zealand and hopefully the boys that are getting an opportunity this weekend are looking forward to the game."
It will be only the 14th cap for the 38-year-old in a Test career spread over 12 seasons, and much of it spend in the shadow of legendary hookers John Smit and Bismarck du Plessis.
15 Johan Tromp, 14 Chad Plato, 13 JC Greyling, 12 Peter John Walters, 11 Lesley Klim, 10 Cliven Loubser, 9 Eugene Jantjies, 8 Adriaan Booysen, 7 Muharua Katjijeko, 6 Thomasau Forbes, 5 Tjiuee Uanivi (captain), 4 Johan Retief, 3 AJ de Klerk, 2 Louis van der Westhuizen, 1 Desiderius Sethie
Substitutes: 16 Obert Nortje, 17 Andre Rademeyer, 18 Johannes Coetzee, 19 Prince Gaoseb, 20 Janco Venter, 21 Wian Conradie, 22 Helarius Axasman Kisting, 23 Johan Deysel
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Schalk Brits (captain), 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Steven Kitshoff, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Eben Etzebeth, 19 Siya Kolisi, 20 Franco Mostert, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Damian de Allende, 23 Cheslin Kolbe
- SA Rugby