I was once asked to select the best world team and the best captain and I selected Basil Kenyon along with Paul Roos as the best captains South Africa had ever produced. Basil came from Border and he established his reputation there.
I was astonished that he wasn't chosen for the first tests against the 1949 All Blacks. I remember travelling with him one day to the Border ground and when we got to the gates I teased him and said to the gatekeeper: "Do you know Basil Kenyon?". He replied: "Who don't know him?". "Don't know him" was to become a standing joke between the two of us.
During the 1951/52 tour Basil was badly hurt. He had a serious operation on his eye but although he was not with us for a long time, his influence remained and the players would often say: "Remember, Basil is in hospital. We're playing for him."
Whenever we returned to London, which was quite often, the entire team would visit him in hospital and when he finally rejoined the tour Basil was given a glorious welcome. He was exceptionally popular and yet influenced everyone in his quiet way.
The day before we played Cardiff at Cardiff Arms Park a few of the chaps asked to be allowed to go to the cinema as they wanted to see the popular movie, "The Great Caruso" which most of them had missed in South Africa.
Basil was firm: "Are we here to watch motion pictures or to play rugby? You can't do your best tomorrow if you go and see a film tonight."
Everyone respected the quiet authority this charming man radiated.