Salty had a very difficult career. When I returned to Stellenbosch after World War II, he was a lock forward but there were other good locks like Piet Kriel around and he couldn't make the Western Province side.
I told him: "Salty, you'll only make the Western Province side if you switch to flank." He switched and soon played for Western Province and later South Africa.
He had a shoulder problem; it kept slipping out and he had to have an operation.
When the trials for the 1951/52 tour took place he was no certainty to make the touring side so I went to him and Dennis Fry and told them they were out unless they played their best rugby that week.
They responded by playing themselves into the touring side and Salty, on the flank, became our best forward on the '51/52 tour. He was the no 1 choice for the tests throughout the tour.
On the 1956 tour of New Zealand he captained South Africa in one of the tests.
Salty was a relentless competitor. There was an All Black who kicked us to pieces in the second test and when we played against him in a county match there was a drop-out from our side right at the end of the game.
It was then that Salty told Clive Ulyate: "Kick the ball to him and we'll run him out of the ground."
The fellow must have known what was going to happen because he made no attempt to catch the ball; he literally ran. Salty caught up with him, grabbed him by the collar and called him a 'bloody coward', which was no doubt the truth.
Salty never shirked doing his bit whenever there was trouble on the field. He played some memorable test matches and there is one incident I remember clearly. Salty aimed a punch at an opponent who saw the blow coming and ducked. Unfortunately Salty caught Basie van Wyk, breaking his team-mate's nose in the process.
When I heard that Salty had died at a comparatively early age I couldn't understand it. A man so full of life; a jovial fellow. Wherever he was, the jokes flew and in his own way he exerted a great influence on all his team-mates.