What a wonderful performer. I rate him as one of the best flankers in the world, of all time. If I had to pick a world team from the players of my time I would play him on the flank with George Daneel on the other side.
He came to Stellenbosch as a scrumhalf, as did Flappie Lochner, and strangely enough they both became Springboks in other positions, Ben as a flanker and Flappie as a centre. This proves that sometimes a player must change his position to achieve
Springbok status. If he had stayed as scrumhalf I doubt very much whether he would have played for Stellenbosch, let alone the Springboks.
This is where Mr Markotter's eye for talent came in. He spotted him and said: "You play on the flank, my boy." And that is where he became famous.
I remember when Ben attended the trials before the 1931/32 tour to the U.K. but pulled out, saying he was unfit. I saw him standing at the side of the field and said to Oubaas Markotter: "Ben is here, can he play?"
The selectors roped him in and he played so well in a pick-up game on the Wednesday that after half-time they played him on the wing, and ultimately he played for South Africa with great distinction as a forward.
Ben must have had an intuition of his untimely death because he spoke to Flappie Lochner who rang to tell me that Ben would like to see me to thank me for helping him to become a Springbok. He, Flappie and I had tea together and reminisced about old times. A few short months later, Ben was gone. I am a better man for having known Ben du Toit.