Bertus was the son of Otto van der Merwe's brother, Pierre, and of course the rugby blood flowed strongly in the veins of the Van der Merwes. Knowing that, it was hardly strange that Bertus rose to fame and to the heights he did.
It must be remembered that he played in the Boland and had to travel long distances and make great sacrifices to get to his practices and his matches.
The 1956 tour to Australia and New Zealand started so badly; virtually before we got there, Basie Viviers had lost his father and Bertus had lost his son. I remember asking him whether he would like to go home and he replied: "No Doc, I don't want to let the team down. They'll understand at home."
That kind of spirit and understanding he displayed both off and on the field of play; and it was the sort of commitment that made him a legend.