Basie started off in the police force and became famous as an all-rounder. He could play equally well at flyhalf and fullback and I would like to know how many matches he won through his kicking ability.
Thinking back to the 1951/52 tour: I was in hospital in London suffering from an ear infection and could not accompany the team to France. It was a strange country for most of them and when I eventually rejoined them it seemed to me that the team had changed somewhat.
We had one more match to play before the international against France, and I told Basil Kenyon that we could eliminate the few mistakes that had crept in but might have to lose this game in order not to show the French our strategy for the test to follow.
We expected wet weather but nothing as bad as it turned out to be. The ground looked like a swimming pool. They tried to drain the ground and used Army lorries to bring in sand and give it some sort of surface.
The players were virtually knee-deep in the sand and mud in some places on the field. Once we went through for a try and Hennie Muller, who handled during the movement, had slipped and fallen in the mud. He got up and started shaking off the mud. The referee happened to be standing behind him at the time and he accused poor Hennie, who had done it quite by accident, of deliberately throwing mud in his eyes.
The ref even threatened to send him off the field and to disallow the try. Anyway, Basie pulled it off for us. We won 9-6 in those appalling conditions and it was Basie's kicking that saved the day.
It was the same at Leicester in England. Again the field was a mud-bath and again we won by virtue of a Basie Viviers penalty. His kicking also won many matches for Northern Transvaal.
There was a gale-force wind during the second test in New Zealand in 1956. We battled in the first half but after the resumption we scored a brilliant try. In spite of the terrible wind, Basie managed to convert, a superb effort under dreadful conditions.
He was a player to have in a crunch: when the chips were down, Basie Viviers could, and did, work wonders.