Sharks prop Tendai Mtawarira believes the captaincy has made him grow as a player ahead of their clash against the Lions in Johannesburg.
The Springbok prop will take over the captaincy of the Durban franchise once again after Pat Lambie was injured during South Africa's first Test against Ireland.
"It's been a year of growth for me, I really learned a lot being given the captaincy role while Pat was out and I believe I've really grown," Mtawarira said.
"I'll keep trying to raise the benchmark and there is plenty more rugby this season, I want to keep getting better."
The 78 cap Test veteran also commented on their opponents for this weekend. The Lions are seven points clear on the log and the Sharks have to beat them to try and narrow the gap.
"This is definitely a very tough game ahead of us, but there is a lot of excitement about this challenge. It's why we play rugby to go up against the best," Mtawarira said.
"We have the underdog tag this week and we're going to have to fight hard and win those inches on the field."
"We are not underestimating the big challenge we have coming this week…We know the level of physicality we need to bring, it's going to be tough."