"We have to show Scotland's supporters this weekend that we are ready to face up to the intensely physical challenge that the South Africans always present.
"The players are pledged to deliver a much-improved performance this weekend and I believe they can restore pride in the Scotland jersey."
Blair suffered concussion against the All Blacks and, in the continued absence of Chris Cusiter, Lawson has been given the nod.
Lawson was thrilled to be thrust into the role of captain, having missed out against the All Blacks with a hand injury.
"It's a childhood dream and I'm really honoured to be appointed as captain," said Lawson.
"On top of that, the most important thing for me is that I come in and do my job well and lead the troops into this weekend.
"I wasn't quite ready for last week, but I'm good to go for this week.
"We're at the forefront where all the key decisions are made in the game, which is important - you get the feel for the tactics of the game and how the other guys feel around you.
"From that perspective, it's a key position, which is naturally built for leaders."
Scotland: Hugo Southwell (Stade Francais), Nikki Walker (Ospreys), Joe Ansbro (Northampton), Graeme Morrison (Glasgow Warriors), Sean Lamont (Scarlets), Dan Parks (Cardiff Blues), Rory Lawson (Gloucester) CAPTAIN; Allan Jacobsen (Edinburgh), Ross Ford (Edinburgh), Euan Murray (Northampton Saints), Scott MacLeod (Edinburgh), Richie Gray (Glasgow Warriors), Nathan Hines (Leinster), John Barclay (Glasgow Warriors), Kelly Brown (Saracens).
Replacements: Dougie Hall (Glasgow Warriors), Moray Low (Glasgow Warriors), Richie Vernon (Glasgow Warriors), Ross Rennie (Edinburgh), Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh), Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors), Chris Paterson (Edinburgh).
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