Dane Coles is back in the Hurricanes' No 2 jersey for the first time since March 18.
His cameo of 30 minutes last weekend in the 35-16 quarter-final victory against the Brumbies, in which he set up a try and generally played well, has convinced coach Chris Boyd of his fitness for the weekend's semifinal against the Lions in Johannesburg.
It will be his 100th Super Rugby game and he regains the captaincy.
Coles' promotion is one of two changes to the starting line-up, with Vince Aso back at centre. Perhaps most surprisingly, Julian Savea has been benched for Wes Goosen, who scored an impressive brace against the Brumbies and means Cory Jane may have played his final game for the Hurricanes, as he has been squeezed off the bench.
Aso, Super Rugby's equal leading try-scorer, replaces Jordie Barrett at centre with the latter moving to fullback instead of Nehe Milner-Skudder.
Boyd said his side would have to lift several notches against the Lions.
"They're a quality team and have shown that throughout the year. Ellis Park is a tough place to play and with the home crowd behind them, we are under no illusions about the challenge we will face in Johannesburg."
Hurricanes v Lions
Hurricanes: Jordie Barrett, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Vince Aso, Ngani Laumape, Wes Goosen, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Brad Shields, Ardie Savea, Vaea Fifita, Sam Lousi, Mark Abbott, Jeff Toomaga-Allen, Dane Coles (c), Ben May.
Reserves: Ricky Riccitelli, Chris Eves, Loni Uhila, Reed Prinsep, Callum Gibbins, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Otere Black, Julian Savea.