Cape Town - The shoes to fill are massive, and Warren Whiteley knows that.
The Lions skipper will have much to prove in Saturday's Springbok clash against the World XV when he takes to the Newlands turf in the number eight jersey.
Coach Heyeneke Meyer has been vocal on his concerns over the position with Duane Vermeulen having just undergone neck surgery and in a race against time to be fit for the Rugby World Cup.
Whiteley's form in Super Rugby means that nobody can question his selection, but whether or not he can make the position his own in Vermeulen's absence remains to be seen.
"You can't replace a guy like Duane. He's a fantastic and a world class player. He has been the best number eight in the world for the last two years," said Whiteley, who is capped twice at international level.
"It's important for me to just focus on my own game, which I've been encouraged to do, and my own strengths.
"It's difficult to compare the two of us. We're two completely different players. I think my strength is probably my work rate whether on attack or defence. On attack I probably try and link a lot more between forwards and backs and maybe a bit more in the outside channels.
"I feel that I've definitely grown as a player and a leader and hopefully I can just go forward and contribute.
Another area where Whiteley is hoping to make an impact is in the lineouts.
"Lineouts have always been important for me as a player. I've always enjoyed the lineout and competing so I'd definitely like to contribute there. That'll be a big part of my game this weekend. Hopefully I can disrupt a few balls."
News24 Live attended the press conference. WATCH:
Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:00.
15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Oupa Mohoje, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jean de Villiers
15 Delon Armitage, 14 Lachlan Turner, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 David Smith, 10 Mike Harris, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Steffon Armitage, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Bakkies Botha (captain), 4 Ali Williams, 3 Carl Hayman, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Gurthro Steenkamp
Substitutes: 16 David Roumieu, 17 Alexandre Menini, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 Flip Van der Merwe, 20 Louis-Benoit Madaule, 21 Maxime Machenaud, 22 Andrew Horrell, 23 Rudi Wulf