When I was stationed in Pretoria during the war years I became very friendly with Avril's parents. His father was a professor at Onderstepoort. I went to their home in Wonderboom one day and saw the two children, a boy and a girl, playing in the chicken run and becoming rather smelly in the process.
Their mother was very apologetic and I said: "Mrs Malan, that's not naughtiness, that's how children should be - let them act naturally."
Later Avril came to Stellenbosch and I saw him playing for the second team. He broke through a line-out and kicked the ball away. I called him over and said: "You must come from the backwoods, because there they kick the ball away. Here we don't - we run with it. Remember, when you break through, you've got all the forwards with you. There's no need to kick away possession."
He became a wonderful player and a wonderful leader, born and bred for the task. I often felt that others got the credit due to him because he could play anyone into a team.
He had great pushing strength in the scrums and his ability in the line-outs was exceptional. No-one could collect a ball quite like Avril.
I think he suffered on that demo-stricken tour in 1969/70 when he was the coach. He felt bitter that we couldn't play our natural game under those circumstances.
Incidentally Avril was the first coach to have the hooker throw the ball in at the line-outs. He was much criticised at the time - even I criticised him - but it's become the commonplace thing nowadays. He certainly knew what he was doing.