Jan Lotz' brother came from Transvaal to my hostel at Stellenbosch where he proceeded to play centre, sometimes second team, sometimes first. About 1930 and after the initiation - I was then in my second year - he said: "My brother is going to play rugby for South Africa. His name is Jan and he is a hooker."
"How can you possibly make such a prediction at this stage?" I asked, and forgot all about this particular conversation until we played in the trials in 1937. There I saw Jan Lotz in action. What a wonderful striker and player he was.
However, there were a few things about which he was rather particular. For instance, when it came to the scrumhalf's duties concerning the hooker.
Firstly, he would not allow the scrumhalf to put the ball into the scrum until he felt that the entire pack was ready. And he would often say: "Wag, Danie, wag wag wag." ("Wait, Danie, wait wait wait"). Before that he would say: "Kom Ferdie, Ferdie, jy druk nie. Phillip, ek wil meer van jou hê. Fanie, kom nader na my toe," ("Come on Ferdie, you aren't shoving enough. Phillip, I want more from you. Fanie, get in a bit closer"), and then he would say: "Nou's ons reg." ("OK, now we're ready.")
Secondly, in the days when the wings threw the ball in, and he as hooker stood in the front of the line-out, they would sometimes throw the ball directly to his feet. He would then kick the ball out yards and yards, gaining further ground for his team.
It was a tactical move which had been worked out with his Transvaal teammates, like Tallie Broodryk, and subsequently with Freddie Turner and his other wings. It was a totally unexpected move and he could kick the ball out with both feet, depending which side of the field was being played.
What a wonderful man, a clever player and one of the game's greatest characters.