Lions head coach Ian McGeechan said he felt it was a fitting honour for a man on his third Lions tour and was a tribute to the way in which he had represented the side. But while O'Gara is delighted with the honour, it is a Test start he craves most of all.
"I hope there is still a chance of breaking into the test side this weekend. That's what we've been told and that's what we'll all be working towards," said O'Gara.
"I was told it was a close call leading into the first test and I would like to think it is even more open after the first Test. I have got to keep the pressure on Stephen and that's my goal.
"I want to run out on Saturday and start a Test match for the Lions. Now I have this huge bonus of being made captain and Tuesday will be a very big day for me.
"Playing for the Lions is something unbelievably special and Tuesday is a huge opportunity for me."
O'Gara has had to play second fiddle to Jones in the past four Lions Tests and was among the unused replacements in Durban last weekend. If he can lead the Lions to a clean sweep of their non-Test games against the Emerging Springboks then maybe he can reverse the trend this weekend.
"There is a massive belief in the squad and our captain, Paul O'Connell, is unwavering in his faith and belief in the players. He has been fantastic and I hope he gets out of this tour what he deserves," said O'Gara.
"We all expected to win last weekend, but I thought the Boks were really impressive for the first hour. There was real belief there, but I was disappointed with the way we played.
"If you ask me, the better team won. Momentum is important and the Springboks got the momentum last weekend.
"We needed to hang in there and be a bit tougher when they were having their purple patches. Now we need to make a statement as a team on Tuesday night to give the team momentum going into Saturday's second Test.
"Realistically, there are four or five places up for grabs in the Test team and there could be certain individuals who benefit from a good team effort"
It won't be a totally new experience for O'Gara to captain the Lions on Tuesday night because he took over from Michael Owen for the final 15 minutes in the 26-16 win over Southland in 2005.