A tall, well-built centre, Alan Skene's Springbok career was cut short after only one Test when he opted to play in the professional ranks.
He was selected for the second Test against France at Ellis Park in 1958, when the Springboks were anxious to preserve their unbeaten record on home soil during the 20th Century – they had lost their home series in 1896 against a British team. The first Test at Newlands had been drawn 3-3 and the national selectors made a number of changes for the second and final Test of the series.
Out went centre Wilf Rosenberg, flyhalf Ian Kirkpatrick, scrumhalf Popeye Strydom, eighthman Butch Lochner (who had scored a try at Newlands), flanks Martin Pelser and Hugo van Zyl, lock Johan Steenekamp and hooker Bertus van der Merwe. Joe Kaminer was introduced to Test rugby as Skene's partner and Jeremy Nel moved from centre in to flyhalf in place of Kirkpatrick.
Tommy Gentles came in at scrumhalf and in the scrum Western Province captain Jan Pickard returned for his last Test at lock. The two flanks were Dawie Ackermann and new boy Louis Schmidt, the Northern Transvaler. Abie Malan, later to captain South Africa, took the hooker's spot in his first Test.
Despite the wholesale changes, France won the match 9-5, and South Africa’s precious record was a thing of the past.
Other than Pickard, others to play their last Tests were Ackermann, Gentles, Nel and wing Jan Prinsloo, while Lochner, Rosenberg and Steenekamp from the first Test were all discarded. Kaminer and Skene joined Steenekamp as one-Test wonders and a new era began in 1960 when Scotland and New Zealand toured South Africa.
- Peter Martin