Eddie Butler (rugby union)

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Eddie Butler
Eddie Butler and Iqwal.jpg
Eddie Butler in 2010
Birth nameEdward Thomas Butler
Date of birth (1957-05-08) 8 May 1957 (age 65)
Place of birthNewport, Wales
Rugby union career
Position(s) Number eight
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1976–1990 Pontypool RFC ()
Correct as of 13 September 2008
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1980–1984 Wales 16 (8)
Correct as of 14 September 2008

Edward Thomas Butler (born 8 May 1957)[1] is a journalist, sports commentator, and former Welsh rugby union player, who won 16 caps for the Wales team between 1980 and 1984 and scored 2 tries.

Early life and rugby career[edit]

Butler was educated at Monmouth School and Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. He played as a number eight and was at Cambridge for Blues in 1976, 1977 and 1978,[2] and captained Wales on six occasions.[3] He captained Pontypool RFC side between 1982 and 1985, in succession to Jeff Squire. He was chosen for the Barbarians and the British Lions.[4][5]

Journalist and broadcaster[edit]

Though retired from playing the game, Butler has written a weekly column in the Rugby Union section of The Observer Sport since 1991 and also writes for The Guardian,[6][7] as well as commentating for the BBC with Brian Moore, the former England hooker. He received some attention when it became public knowledge that Austin Healey's newspaper column had been written by Butler whilst Healey was on tour with the British and Irish Lions Rugby squad in Australia in 2001.[5]

Before commentating on a match, Butler prepares for several hours, absorbing as much information as he can, but taking few notes, and likens it to cramming for an examination.[8] He describes writing a match report, often under time pressure, as telling a story which does not necessarily have to follow the timeline of the match so long as it is entertaining and complete.[9]

In 2008 Butler provided commentary for archery at the Beijing Olympics.[10]

Butler presented the history series: Wales and the History of the World (BBC1 Wales), Hidden Histories (BBC2),[11] Welsh Towns at War (BBC1) in 2014[12] and two series of Welsh Towns (BBC2 Wales) in 2015.[13] He has been on the commentating team for the Invictus Games.[14] He has also worked for the associated football assignments including a special interview with Eric Cantona for FA Cup Final edition of Grandstand in 1994.

Charity work and politics[edit]

Butler is an ambassador for Prostate Cymru, a Welsh organisation to raise prostate cancer awareness.[15]

Butler is a supporter of Welsh independence.[16]


Butler has published two rugby-based novels.[12]


  • Butler, E. The Greatest Welsh XV Ever. (Non-fiction) Gomer Press. 2011. ISBN 978-1848514089
  • Butler, E. The Head of Gonzo Davies. (Fiction) Gomer Press. 2014. ISBN 978-1848518735
  • Butler, E. Gonzo Davies Caught in Possession. (Fiction, sequel) Gomer Press. 2015. ISBN 978-1785620324


  1. ^ "Eddie Butler". espnscrum.com. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  2. ^ Ian Metcalfe to join RFU Council, RFU.com, accessed 23 February 2012 Archived 13 September 2012 at archive.today
  3. ^ "Newport Gwent Dragons Personnel: Eddie Butler". Newportgwentdragons.com. 23 January 2008. Archived from the original on 17 June 2011. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  4. ^ Eddie Butler, Bloomsbury.com, accessed 23 February 2012
  5. ^ a b "Eddie Butler". Sporting Heroes. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  6. ^ "The Guardian: Eddie Butler". TheGuardian.com. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  7. ^ "Eddie Butler". journalisted.com. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  8. ^ "Preparation is personal but paramount". BBC. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  9. ^ "Writing a match report". BBC. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  10. ^ Smith, Olympics on television by Giles. "Eddie Butler becomes the voice of archery". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  11. ^ "Daily Post North Wales: "Eddie Butler swaps rugby for history"". Dailypost.co.uk. Archived from the original on 29 September 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
  12. ^ a b "'My new life as a novelist': Eddie Butler on the First World War and the world of rugby fiction". Wales Online. 23 August 2014. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  13. ^ "BBC Programmes". Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  14. ^ "BBC reveals coverage plans for Invictus Games". Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  15. ^ Lynch, David (11 November 2018). "Eddie Butler visits Prostate Cymru fundraising champ". Western Telegraph. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  16. ^ "'It's better to be free and poor than be a servant and poor'". BBC News. 12 September 2019. Retrieved 2 February 2021.