Stephen Fry, who has died in Somerset West at the age of 77, captained the Springbok rugby team against what many consider to have been the best side to tour South Africa, the 1955 British Lions.
The Springboks were a youngish outfit, having lost many of the stalwarts such as Hennie Muller, Basie van Wyk and Hansie Brewis who had made them, three years before, the best side to leave these shores. They took everybody by surprise - not least Danie Craven - when they managed to draw the series.
Craven said it was only Fry's captaincy that saved the day for them. Fry's calm, mature and inspirational leadership was in marked contrast to the mood of frenzied hysteria that gripped the nation when it looked as though the Springboks might lose a series at home for the first time since 1896.
In those days there were only three things that mattered to most white Afrikaners - the Dutch Reformed Church, the National Party and the Springbok rugby team. The prospect of losing at home was too ghastly to contemplate.
After losing the first test at Ellis Park 22-23, Fry received death threats. The test was lost when Jack van der Schyff, before a world record crowd of just under 100 000, missed a conversion by millimetres. Fry ran up to him and put a consoling arm on his shoulder.
For the second test at Newlands, Tom van Vollenhoven was moved from centre to wing to accommodate Wilf Rosenberg. This seemed like madness to Fry. The Lions had two of the most physically imposing centres in the world, Jeff Butterfield and Phil Davies, both well over 1.83m tall and each weighing more than 100kg. Rosenberg weighed 70kg and was the second-smallest player in the side after scrumhalf Tommy Gentles.
Fry remonstrated with Craven, but to no avail. The Springboks thrashed the Lions 25-3 and the tough-as-teak Rosenberg gave the two giants opposite him no quarter. Afterwards Fry told him he hadn't wanted him in the side, confessed that he had underestimated him, and apologised.
Fry was born in Somerset West on July 14 1924 and educated at Bishops. His background was far more privileged than that of the younger, rougher, mainly Afrikaans team he led, and off the field he had very little in common with them. He didn't mix with them socially and was considered aloof.
He had only marginally more in common with them on the field. In those days, with only one person controlling the game, no interfering linesmen and no TV cameras, there was a level of thuggery on the field that would not be tolerated for a moment today. Fry believed that sportsmanship should be as integral a part of the game as skill, speed and stamina, and no one ever saw him throw a punch or heard him swear.
He never shouted at his players. If he needed to admonish someone he went up to him and spoke quietly and always said "please", even in the tightest situations. It was not for nothing that these hard-bitten types worshipped him.
Fry was tall but not especially fast for a flanker. His great strength was his ability to read a game and his brilliant positional play.
Fry played with some of the most legendary players in the immortal Springbok side that toured Britain and France in 1951-52. He played in all four Tests against the Wallabies in 1953 before being made captain in 1955.
After fighting in World War Two, Fry studied engineering at the University of Cape Town, but after working on the copper mines in Zambia he turned to apple farming in Elgin.
Fry leaves his wife, Betty, and two children.