Cape Town - Springbok coach Allister Coetzee has handed Warren Whiteley a first start in Springbok colours as the Lions skipper replaces the injured Duane Vermeulen for Saturday's series decider against Ireland in Port Elizabeth.
Whiteley has been in sublime form for the Lions in Super Rugby over the last two seasons and was considered largely unlucky to miss last year's Rugby World Cup.
Having shown intensity and skill off the bench in both Ireland matches so far this month, Whiteley was the obvious replacement at No 8 once Vermeulen was ruled out with an injured elbow.
Coetzee, speaking after he announced his match-day 23 on Thursday, said he was privileged to have both Whiteley and Vermeulen at his disposal.
The two players are vastly different.
Vermeulen is experienced and immensely physical while the smaller Whiteley thrives on work-rate, offloads and the ability to cover ground.
"There will always be two different No 8s, two different hookers, two different open-siders in any game," said Coetzee.
"I'm just happy that I've got both Duane and Warren in the mix.
"We know how competitive Duane is in the physical exchanges and defensively how strong he is.
"Warren brings something different; how effective he could be in the wide channels, how much ground he can cover on the field and the try he scored (last Saturday) was actually in the wide channels, being there at the right time."
Coetzee added that Whiteley would take over the captaincy should anything happen to Adriaan Strauss on the field.
"Both (Vermeulen and Whiteley) bring a hell of a lot of leadership with them to support Adriaan," said Coetzee.
"I'm happy for Warren's sake. He's been playing consistently well over the last couple of seasons and it's a great opportunity for him."
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Julian Redelinghuys, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Jaco Kriel, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Morne Steyn, 23 Lwazi Mvovo
15 Tiernan O'Halloran, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Luke Marshall, 12 Stuart Olding, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Jordi Murphy, 6 CJ Stander, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Rory Best (captain) 1 Jack McGrath
Substitutes: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Finlay Bealham, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Ultan Dillane, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Eoin Reddan, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Matt Healy