Boy wasn't called the master for nothing: He was a masterly player and he had a mastery of the rules of the game.
On the ship going to Australia in 1937, he and Mauritz van der Berg were cabinmates. And when we happened to pass by, sometimes kicking up a bit of a row, Van der Berg would say: "Keep quiet boys, Boy is busy reading his bible." We soon found out that he meant the rules book. He had so mastered the laws through his devoted studies that he could also predict the way a game's pattern would develop.
I remember an occasion on the 1931/32 tour, just before the test against Wales. I was a mere youngster, having just turned 21, and I was sitting next to Boy in the bus after having visited a coal-mine in the nearby district. I turned to Boy and said: We can't beat the Welsh."
He replied: "Yes, it will be difficult, but beat them we will."
He then proceeded to expound his theory as to why he was so sure of victory.
Nobody, certainly not in our side, thought we had a chance of beating the cream of Wales as we had struggled to beat their provincial teams. We had battled against Cardiff, Llanelli and Newport, yet Boy was brimming with confidence. When we got back to the hotel the team to play against Wales was read out by our manager Theo Pienaar, and I found much to my surprise that I had been selected to play in my first test match.
Pierre de Villiers came up to me and congratulated me on being selected.
Bear in mind that he was the other scrumhalf in the touring side and he must have felt the disappointment keenly; yet he had the grace to offer his best wishes.
Pierre, in fact, got me to sit down with him and we compared notes as to how we saw the test match developing. Boy and Pierre were firm friends, both having played for Paarl and Western Province.
I don't believe that South Africa will ever see the likes of Boy Louw again. He was one of the most versatile forwards, together with Phil Mostert and Manie Geere, that I have ever seen and he was able to play in any position in the pack.
One of the abiding memories I have of Boy is when I went to visit him in an oldage home shortly before his death. After my visit the nursing sister, who had been watching us intently, remarked that she had not seen Boy as voluble and as excited for a very long time. I told her: "Sister, when you have had the privilege such as Boy has had, of playing on the rugby fields of the world, you will understand that the memories will never fade."
After his death, I was asked to pay tribute to him on television. To give an example of the esteem in which Boy was held, I received a phone call the next day from a man who described himself as an out-and-out Northern Transvaal fan. However, after having heard the T.V. broadcast he had felt compelled to phone. Indeed he not only offered to pay for the costs of the coffin but did so and supplied expensive jarrah wood for the purpose.