Springbok skipper John Smit will launch his new career as a tight head prop against Wales at the Millennium Stadium in the Invesco Perpetual series opener on Saturday.
The 78-times capped hooker is turning back the clock in a career that began as a prop for South Africa Under 21s and Natal Sharks.
Smit, who led his side to their second Rugby World Cup triumph in France in 2007, returns to the Springbok team as one of five changes from the starting line-up in their last outing against Australia on 30 August.
Brian Mujati drops to the bench to accommodate Smit on the tight head side of the front row and Bakkies Botha takes over from Andries Bekker in the second row after recovering from knee cruciate ligament damage 12 weeks ago.
The return of the 52-times capped Botha means he can extend his second row pairing record with Victor Matfield to 43 games.
Behind the scrum utility back Ruan Pienaar will fill the No 10 jersey in place of Butch James, while pacy wing duo Bryan Habana and JP Pietersen take over from Jongi Nokwe and Odwa Ndungane.
While Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has made changes to his last team, there are still 16 of the 22 that faced and disposed of Wales in the second Test in the summer. The Boks won the Prince William Cup series 2-0 with successive victories in Bloemfontein (43-17) and Pretoria (37-21).
"It wasn't a difficult selection for me to make. The players have shown they are ready to do justice to their selections," said de Villiers.
"We have picked Bakkies Botha from the start because we felt we would run a big risk if we used him as a replacement and he then broke down. We feel it is better for him to play from the start."
Smit is confident about moving across the front row and feeling comfortable and believes the experience within the Springbok ranks - the starting line-up boasts 559 caps to Wales' 489 - will count in their favour.
"It is going to be a big challenge moving to tight head prop again, but it is one I'm looking forward to. I know that Gethin Jenkins is a formidable opponent," said Smit.
"I haven't played their regularly for a number of years now, although I had a few matches at No 3 for Clermont Auvergne in France."
South Africa: Conrad Jantjes; JP Pietersen, Adi Jacobs, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana; Ruan Pienaar, Fourie du Preez; Beast Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis, John Smit (captain), Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield, Schalk Burger, Juan Smith, Pierre Spies.
Replacements: Brian Mujati, Guthro Steenkamp, Andries Bekker, Ryan Kankowski, Ricky Januarie, Frans Steyn, Jaque Fourie.
When the Wales squad were asked to nominate individuals who played a big part in their early playing days, Wales and Dragons full back and wing Hallam Amos thought of his former Monmouth School rugby coach John Bevan.
Sam Cross and Luke Treharne have been named as co-captains of the Wales Sevens side as head coach Gareth Williams names his 12-man squad to play in the first leg of the HSBC World Series in Dubai next weekend.
Bedwas head coach Steve Law and players Nicky Griffiths and Alun Rees extol the virtues of the close knit club as they prepare to host third place RGC 1404 - who are one place head of them on the Principality Premiership points table - on Saturday.
Many of the Wales squad have said Diolch (thank you) to someone who played an important part in their early playing days by nominating them to be invited to the Wales v South Africa match. One person, Gowerton Comprehensive geography teacher Mr Dean Mason was nominated by two of his former pupils, Dan Biggar and Sam Davies.
The second WRU disability rugby pilot has been delivered, this time in Caerphilly schools, culminating in a festival at the Caerphilly Centre of Sporting Excellence, Ystrad Mynach tomorrow. Plans are in place to set up a Disability Rugby Club in Newbridge to provide long-term playing opportunities.
WRU TV: Hear from inside the Wales camp as Neil Jenkins discusses this weekend's clash with South Africa and how the squad are looking to put in a strong performance to round of the 2016 Under Armour Series