South Africa was split in two during World War II. We who joined the Armed Forces were jeered at and even assaulted because we wore uniforms. When I walked into church people turned their back on me. It was during this time that I realised how politics was ruining our country.
I was placed in charge of P.T. in the army and they allowed me to take a defence team (Garrison) on a tour through the country to try and heal the rift between fellow countrymen who were pulling in all directions., I'd like to believe that the tour was a success not only rugby-wise but in achieving what we had set out to do in the broader sense.
Felix was a member of that team. The first captain of Garrison was Piet Oelofse, then Stapelberg; then Felix. He had the leadership qualities and the respect of the others - the two qualities essential as a captain. He was also an example on and off the field.
It was therefore not surprising that Felix, who was then captaining Transvaal, was selected to lead the 1949 Boks against the touring All Blacks. He was done an injustice when Basil Kenyon - (wonderful choice that he was) was brought in as captain for the fourth test.
Felix should never have been dropped - you don't change a captain in mid-stream, particularly a successful captain. As a selector I fought bitterly to retain Felix because I knew what I had in him; I didn't know Basil then as well as I got to know him later.
Felix du Plessis, nevertheless, was on a par with the best captains South Africa has ever had.