Ireland head coach Eddie O'Sullivan has offered Simon Easterby the captaincy for Saturday's clash against New Zealand - despite his quiet manner.
Easterby, one of the few Irishmen to return from the Lions tour to New Zealand with his reputation enhanced, will lead the side for the first time as regular skipper Brian O'Driscoll is in the treatment room.
The Llanelli flanker's place was only confirmed yesterday morning as a broken nose, which required surgery, threatened his involvement.
But the 30-year-old will win his 43rd cap when he runs out against the Tri-Nations champions at Lansdowne Road and O'Sullivan believes his experience will prove to be crucial.
He said: "Simon has been around the squad for a while - ever since 2000. He's been a permanent fixture for most of that time, unless he's been injured.
"He's a slightly different leader to many of the other players. He's a very quiet guy but is held in high esteem by the squad and leads by example. He doesn't panic or lose his head under pressure.
"When he speaks people listen. Having someone of his experience and knowledge in this type of game is very important. He's the right man for the job. I was happy to offer him the role. My only concern was his fitness.
"We waited until the last minute today before we included him because we had to get medical clearance. Yesterday he had a scan and the specialist gave him the all clear. He's been training this morning and is good to go."
Anthony Foley has paid the price for Easterby ' s
availability and O'Sullivan said the veteran Munster No 8, who drops out of the squad altogether, would have come in had the Llanelli forward been ruled out.
Easterby takes the No 6 jersey, Wasps' Johnny O'Connor is named at openside and Denis Leamy, of Munster, wins a rare start at No 8.
Leinster back Shane Horgan, who featured as a substitute in all three Lions Tests this summer, lines up alongside Gordon D'Arcy in midfield after injuring his shoulder on Heineken Cup duty 11 days ago. Uncapped Ulster duo Rory and Neil Best are on the bench.
Ireland have never beaten the All Blacks and are rank outsiders to break that duck this weekend. Graham Henry's men swept aside Wales 41-3 last Saturday.
As well as the absence of O'Driscoll and second row Paul O'Connell, Ireland are also without injured Denis Hickie, Alan Quinlan, Guy Easterby, Eric Miller and Frankie Sheahan.