The Australian Rugby community is mourning the loss of Wallaby 423 Jack Potts, who passed away on Thursday aged 87.
Jack Potts was a tall and rangy outside centre whose legal career ambitions impacted his international rugby career. A conspicuous figure with the headgear that he always wore, Potts was a strong defender and hard runner who proved difficult to bring to the ground due to his high striding gait. At 1.82m and 82 kg he was comparable in physique to many loose forwards of that time.
Born in Nowra on the New South Wales south coast, Potts attended Waverley College as a boarder and played centre for the 1st XV in his final year (1953). After school, Potts enrolled in the Faculty of Law at the University of Sydney and played his rugby for Sydney University Football Club.
In 1956, Potts made his debut for New South Wales against Queensland and two weeks later found himself alongside Jim Phipps against the touring Springboks. He did not make the Test team but toured Japan with an Australian Universities side that was bolstered by numerous current and future Wallabies.
The following year, Potts fortuitously missed the 3-19 state match loss to the touring All Blacks, a game in which the centres struggled in defence, and as a result he was selected for his Test debut in Sydney. Potts retained his place for the 2nd Test and was then chosen for the Fourth Wallabies tour.
In 1958 Potts was injured in the first interstate match and missed the rest of the representative season. He returned with a vengeance in 1959, Potts played what his greatest ever game in NSW’s historic defeat of the Lions (18-14) and was duly recalled for the 1st Test in Brisbane. Potts had another strong match and was selected for the 2nd Test but withdrew due to the pressure of his university exams.
In his final year of law, Potts concentrated on his studies however Australia did not play a Test that season and by 1961 the brilliant Jimmy Lisle had emerged in the outside centre position.
Jack Potts played five Tests for Australia in a three-year international career.
Jack is survived by his wife Louise, children John Henry, Marylou and Barney, and grandchildren Nina, Margot, Jeremy, Tane and Finn.