Sharks duo Ruan Pienaar and Francois Steyn both have their eyes on the Springbok pivot's jersey - last worn against the Lions by Henry Honiball and Jannie de Beer.
And this Saturday is a chance for both coaches to cast their eye over Pienaar as he starts at fly-half for the Sharks' trip to Cape Town to play the Stormers in their Super 14 opener.
New Sharks coach John Plumtree has selected Steyn at No12, but the floppy-haired dropped-goal expert has made it clear he sees his future one position closer to the pack.
And with Pienaar widely recognised as one of the best scrum-halves in the game, de Villiers can accommodate both of them if he so chooses.
Bath's Butch James has thrown his name into the ring - a few months after saying he wouldn't be involved against the Lions - but South African rugby pundits think it's a direct choice between the two Sharks players.
And if the Sharks are to finally throw off their tag of perennial bridesmaids, you get the feeling that Pienaar has to produce a series of match-winning performances.
The Sharks are easily South Africa's most successful franchise, although Bulls fans will point to their last-gasp 2007 title win and argue the point. Sharks fans will then point to how many times the great-on-paper, rubbish-on-grass Bulls have finished last and so on…
The Sharks have made the semi-finals six times, going on to reach three finals… before losing the lot. In 1996, they were thumped 45-21 by the Auckland Blues in the final, before an even more embarrassing 36-6 mauling at the hands of the Brumbies in 2001.
In 2007, they were leading the Bulls 19-13 with no time left on the clock, but then inexplicably gave Bryan Habana some space. Ten seconds later, Derick Hougaard was kicking the match-winning conversion.
The bookies have made the Sharks third favourites to win this season's Super 14 - behind champions Crusaders and last year's runners-up Hurricanes. And with John Smit and Ryan Kankowski leading a no-nonsense pack, Pienaar pulling the strings, Steyn dropping the goals and Odwa Ndungane and J P Pietersen scoring the tries, this may just be the Year of the Shark.