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Former Wallabies captain John Thornett MBE has died aged 83.
One of the greatest figures in Australian rugby history, Thornett remarkably played almost every position in the forward pack during an illustrious 37-Test career from 1955-63.
After debuting as a flanker against the All Blacks in Wellington in 1955, Thornett moved into the second row after 15 Tests before playing out his international career in the front row.
Born in 1935, he graduated from Sydney Boys High School as school captain and excelled at swimming and rowing as well skippering the 1st XV rugby team.
His brothers Dick and Ken were also champion sportsmen and all three played water polo for the Bronte Water Polo Club before forging international careers.
Dick went on to represent Australia at the Olympics in water polo and was a triple-international playing for his country in both rugby codes, while Ken was a dual international in league and union.
John also represented NSW at water polo in the mid to late 1950s – but his great love was rugby.
He played with both Sydney University and Northern Suburbs Rugby Club before touring New Zealand with the Australian Universities team in 1954.
He made his NSW Waratahs and Wallabies debuts in 1955 and first captained Australia on the 1961 trip to South Africa.
From 1963 to 1967, Thornett was entrenched as Australia’s leader, captaining the Wallabies more times than any player to that point in Test history.
Thornett died at a Batemans Bay nursing home on Friday morning with his wife by his side.