It is with great sadness that I inform you of the death of John “Jack” Maxwell Potts (Fresher 1954) on 1 June 2023. Jack had a unique rugby career influenced by his aspirations in the legal field.
Jack was born on 21 Feb 1936 and was originally from Nowra NSW, later to attend Waverley College as a boarding student. In his last year at school (1953), he played centre for the Waverley 1st XV. Following his graduation from high school, Jack pursued a law degree at the University of Sydney residing at St John’s College while simultaneously playing rugby for the Sydney University Football Club. Jack coached St John’s College in 1974 and First Grade in 1975.
In 1957 whilst a resident at St John’s College Jack went overseas to play for the Australian Rugby Union team. Such was his popularity that the college moved en masse to send him off on his journey aboard the “Strathmore” and delayed the departure of the ship by ten minutes.
Jack was a tall and agile outside centre, recognisable for his consistent use of headgear and known for his defensive prowess and powerful running style. Standing at 1.82m and weighing 82 kg, he possessed a physique akin to many loose forwards of his era.
Jack was Wallaby number 423 and has 5 caps. His debut test match was in 1957 (Wallabies v New Zealand; 1st Test Sydney). Jack delivered an exceptional performance in NSW’s remarkable victory over the Lions (18-14), marking it as his greatest game ever. As a result, his outstanding display earned him a well-deserved selection for his final test match in 1959 (Wallabies v British Isles; 1st Test Brisbane).
Following another impressive performance, Jack’s consistent form earned him a spot in the squad for the 2nd Test in 1959. However, he had to withdraw from the team due to the mounting pressure of his university exams. As a final-year law student, Potts made the decision to prioritise his studies during that period.
Jack was recently a guest of the Sydney University Football Club when it held its second Wallaby Legends Lunch in 2021 to honour some past greats of the Club.
I offer my condolences to Jack’s family. A memorial will be held at Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron on 11 July from 2pm for family and friends.
Please let me know if I can be of further help to any of our College community during this time.