Who could possibly say any more than has already been said and written about this unique personality?
One morning in late February 1989 I had woken up at 4 am with a start; it was the Rugby Board's centenary year. Would Doctor Craven be interested in selecting the best 100 players during the last 100 years, would he write about them, relate littleknown anecdotes about them? Would there be a market for a book like this?
Cap in hand I phoned for an appointment and two days later met Doc for the first time. He was enthusiastic, and with the assistance of the S.A. Rugby Board we were on our way.
The simplistic ideal, however, of 100 players, 100 pictures and 100 anecdotes was soon to be shattered. In the weeks and months that followed Doc's loyalty to every Springbok and in particular his respect for the men who laid the foundations of our rugby became overwhelmingly apparent.
The book ballooned to 171 Springboks and Doc was constantly thinking of new ideas and chapters for the book, now bulging at the seams.
Eventually we called it a day and the long hours I had spent with Doc were suddenly at an end. Chris Greyvenstein and I sat down to do the editing, collecting pictures, etc.
Excitement ran high but something was lacking and I suddenly realised it was Doc's company that I missed.
Gone were the days when he would phone at 7 am or 9 pm and tell me he had discovered a photo of Paul Roos, or that he had been in touch with Jan Stegmann's or Bob Loubser's son and had discovered something new.
I miss his saying: "Mr Clayton, I think a cup of tea is called for," during a recording session. I miss his impish sense of humour, that little smile that would occasionally creep across his face, warning me in advance that I was about to hear a not-to-be-repeated story or that he had some or other devilment up his sleeve.
The unfailing courtesy, his escorting me to my car when I left, signing rugby balls for my two sons, unexpectedly discovering his love of the music and arias of my father's time - Richard Tauber, Caruso, Gigli and the like; all of these things I miss.
By virtue of an idea I have been privileged to meet and speak with many giants. However, I have also met Doctor Craven. I am, indeed, a privileged man.