Pat Lyster, a Durban barrister and solicitor, who was three-quarter with Philip Nel's 1937 Springboks in New Zealand, won fame for his speed off the mark, his infield swerve, and his acceleration. .. A popular player in every centre.
He was to meet New Zealand Rugby footballers again - under stranger and more violent surroundings.
Pat served in World War II, and won the M.C. while in the Western Desert. It was here that he reckons he played his most exciting game of football, so we will let him tell it in his own way:
"It happened at Bagush in 1941, when the New Zealand and South African divisions found themselves lying adjacent to each other. Naturally, a match between us was inevitable. The Kiwis, who did everything thoroughly, went immediately into earnest training, and so we did likewise, also holding a series of trials before we picked our side. Enthusiasm in both camps was at fever heat, and nothing but Rugby was discussed. Unfortunately, two of our three brigades were moved up to Sidi Regezh just before the game took place."
"Never will I forget that day. The N.Z. team marched out spick and span before their proud General, complete in their All Black rig-out - everything except the silver fern, right down to their polished boots and white laces - and captained by none other than Jack Sullivan. They looked a truly formidable combination. In their side, I can recall Arthur Wesney, Artie Lambourne, Morrie McHugh, George Coull, and there were also several other celebrities."
"South Africa were proudly led on to the field by none other than myself, but we looked rather a motley lot in comparison, in a mixed collection of jerseys, stockings and boots, while some of our boys even wore sandshoes. But that couldn't be helped. Out we went on to that sandy desert before a wildly excited and vocal crowd of enthusiastic fans, and both teams were cheered to the echo. Yes. I led our boys out to the slaughter, as there was no doubt in my mind that the Kiwis were immeasureably the better side. But we put up a real good fight and it was a hard, ding-dong `go' from start to finish. Eventually Sullivan scored one of his classicc opportunist tries, which Wesney converted, and, finally, Wesney inlproved their score with a penalty, making it New Zealand 8, South Africa 0, and that's how the game ended."
"Of course, South Africa had its moments, but the New Zealanders' defence was too sound and solid for us. Never will I forget how the crowd yelled and groaned throughout the game; one would have thought we were playing for the world's championship. Not that they were at all partisan, oh, no; in fact, this game could not have been what it was but for that grand sporting spirit displayed by all those present. But New Zealand won, and won well, and thoroughly deserved their victory. This was my swan song from the game I love, and I am sure it was also the most thrilling and exciting of my whole Rugby career," Pat declared, his face aglow with enthusiasm.