The loosehead prop has recovered from an ankle injury to lead a side that includes fellow Highlanders squad members Hoani Macdonald, Hale T-Pole, Paul Miller, Jimmy Cowan and David Hall.
Hua Tamariki and wing Watisoni Lotawa will make their first-class debuts for the province.
Another familiar surname in the line-up is Muliaina but it will not be All Blacks fullback Mils turning out but his older brother Faolua.
Richard Apanui returns from a season is France to reclaim the fly-half jersey.
Southland team to face the British & Irish Lions in Invercargill on Tuesday:
James Wilson; Mana Harrison, Bryan Milne, Faolua Muliaina, Watisoni Lotawa; Richard Apanui, Jimmy Cowan; Clarke Dermody (capt), Jason Rutledge, Aaron Dempsey, Hoani Macdonald, Daniel Quate, Hua Tamariki, Hale T-Pole, Paul Miller.
Replacements: Jayden Murch, David Hall, Rees Logan, Jeff Wright, Adam Clarke, Matt Petre, Pehi Te Whare.