Victor Matfield's remarkable return from retirement to top-class rugby took another twist when he was named South Africa captain for the June internationals against Wales and Scotland, almost three years after quitting the game.
The 37-year-old lock will lead the Springboks in the absence of injured regular skipper Jean de Villiers, having last done so at the 2011 World Cup.
"Victor's appointment as interim captain is something I thought long and hard about and it wasn't an easy decision to make," Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer said in a statement from South African rugby board SARU on Tuesday.
"The three candidates we considered, Victor, Bismarck du Plessis and Fourie du Preez, were all very strong options.
"It's only a short-term appointment as Jean will take over as captain again once he's recovered from his injury.
"Victor was a logical option - he knows the pressure associated with being Springbok captain as he's been there before and he has vast captaincy experience at all levels of the game."
Matfield, who has captained the Springboks in 17 of his 110 tests, said he was looking forward to the challenge.
"I'm here to serve the team and would like to make a positive contribution," the giant lock said.
"When I decided to return to playing rugby, my aim was to be good enough to make the Springbok team. I never dreamt of leading the team again and it's a massive honour."
Matfield will captain the team in an exhibition match against a World XV in Cape Town on Saturday and then in test matches against Wales on 14 and 21 June, as well as Scotland on 28 June.
The vice-captains will be Du Plessis and Du Preez.
The Bulls forward retired from rugby in 2011 but returned for the 2014 Super Rugby season, having been on the coaching staff of the Pretoria-based side for two seasons.