Gareth Thomas has been appointed British & Irish Lions captain for the remainder of their New Zealand tour.
Thomas replaces Brian O'Driscoll, whose participation was ended by a dislocated shoulder suffered just a minute into the Lions' first-Test defeat to the All Blacks.
Head coach Sir Clive Woodward had been heartily impressed with Thomas' leadership of the Wales team during the autumn internationals and the RBS 6 Nations.
He views the 31-year-old as crucial to any hope the Lions have of winning the last two Tests and pulling off a miraculous series victory.
Woodward said: ''Gareth Thomas is an outstanding player and a natural leader. We are going to need big characters out there who can dig deep and show real fight and courage.
''Gareth is such a character. We did not play as well as we could or should have but I am in no doubt we can beat New Zealand.
''Gareth's leadership will be central to meeting that challenge."
Thomas was mentioned as a potential Lions captain by Woodward last winter after he had spent a week in the Wales camp.
''It is an unbelievable honour for me to be named captain for the rest of the tour,'' Thomas said.
''And the New Zealanders better understand I will be around a lot longer than a couple of minutes.
''This is a squad of great players with a lot of fight in them and we are going to put disappointment behind us and show the world what we are made of.
"It was fantastic being chosen for the Lions' tour in the first place. To be captain is beyond any dreams I ever had as a kid.''
The Lions discovered late on Saturday night that Keven Mealamu and All Blacks captain Tana Umaga had escaped any punishment for the ''double spear-tackle'' which left O'Driscoll with a dislocation so severe it took medics half an hour to put his shoulder back in.
The Lions management were furious with the challenge and lodged a complaint with the independent citing commissioner, Willem Venter.
But the South African decided the matter should go no further.
O'Driscoll nevertheless felt the tackle - in which he was lifted off the ground and then dropped head first to the deck - was ''deliberate foul play".
He said: ''It was a cheap shot which has put me out of the tour. The truth is it could have been an awful lot worse because they could have quite easily broken my neck.''
Thomas vowed the squad will be seeking retribution next weekend with a victory to tie the series.
He said: ''The whole squad is devastated for Brian. He is a great player and a great bloke, and to lose him as our captain is a big blow.
''The fact that he was put out of the game in the way that he was will fire every single one of us to get out there and do better in the second and third Tests.
"Brian would be the first to say we have to get over the disappointment of losing him in those dreadful circumstances, and get on with the job of preparing for Tuesday's match and then the second Test.''