When the Stellenbosch under-18 side was formed Jan was the first ever captain. His play improved steadily over the years but after playing one test in 1974 he was on the reserve bench for the Springboks so often he became a bit disheartened. When he was again selected as reserve for the test match against the French in 1975 in Pretoria he told me he didn't want to go.
I told him that he had to accept, that this could turn out to be his big chance. So it happened, and he had to go on as a substitute. The moment he took the field we began to take more than our share of the ball, particularly in the rucks and loose mauls. It was only then that everyone, especially the selectors, realised how stupid they had been not to select him before.
There has never been a better fetcher of the ball than "Jan Boland". A greatly underrated player, who could have been worth even more to the Springboks had he been given a chance earlier. A great human being, also, in my estimation.