Owen Badger

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Owen Badger
Full name Owen Badger
Date of birth (1871-11-03)3 November 1871
Place of birth Llanelli, Wales
Date of death 17 March 1939(1939-03-17) (aged 67)
Place of death Llanelli, Wales
Rugby league career
Position(s) Back
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
1897-? Swinton RLFC ()
Rugby union career
Position(s) Centre
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
Seaside Stars
Llanelli RFC
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1895-1896 Wales 4 (0)

Owen Badger (3 November 1871 – 17 March 1939)[1] was a Welsh international rugby centre who played rugby union for Llanelli and was capped four times for Wales.[2] He later switched codes, playing professional rugby league for Swinton.

Rugby career[edit]

Badger came to prominence playing for Llanelli. He was part of the team that won the South Wales Challenge Cup during the 1893/94 under the captaincy of Ben James. While playing for Llanelli, Badger was first chosen to represent his country in a game against England as part of the 1895 Home Nations Championship. Under the captaincy of Wales legend Arthur 'Monkey' Gould, Wales lost the game 6-14, mainly due to far better play from the English forwards. Although appearing on the losing side, Badger was reselected for the very next game. The Scotland game was a much closer affair, but Wales lost this match too, though the final game of the tournament at home to Ireland saw Wales victorious thanks to Billy Bancroft's conversion of a Tom Pearson try. This match was Badger's only appearance on a winning international team under the rugby union code. His final amateur match for Wales was in the next season's opening game of the Championship. It was a torrid game for Wales and Badger, as in the first 15 minutes of the match, he broke his collar bone in a tackle and was forced to leave the pitch.[3] With replacements not allowed, the Welsh team played on with 14 men and saw seven tries scored against them without reply. Badger's replacement for the next match was Gwyn Nicholls, one of the finest threequarters in Welsh rugby.

Wales team of 1895 that faced England. Badger sat front row, far left.

Whether Badger would have regained his position in the Welsh team is unknown, as he switched codes to professional rugby league in 1897. His fee for switching to Swinton was £75, with a match fee of £2, 10 shillings a week. Badger's family remained in Wales while he played in Manchester. This fact caused repercussions for the club, when Badger's actions caused the club to forfeit two league points when he took time off work to visit his sick children in Wales. On his return, the club forgot to ask permission from the union to reintroduce Badger into the team, and the club was duly penalised.[4]

When Badger died in 1939, it was just seven days before his Wales replacement, Nicholls also died.

International matches played[edit]


External links[edit]


  • Godwin, Terry (1984). The International Rugby Championship 1883-1983. London: Willows Books. ISBN 0-00-218060-X. 
  • Griffiths, John (1987). The Phoenix Book of International Rugby Records. London: Phoenix House. ISBN 0-460-07003-7. 
  • Smith, David; Williams, Gareth (1980). Fields of Praise: The Official History of The Welsh Rugby Union. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. ISBN 0-7083-0766-3. 


  1. ^ Owen Badger player profile Scrum.com
  2. ^ Welsh Rugby Union player profiles
  3. ^ Godwin (1984), pg 46.
  4. ^ Collins, Tony; Rugby's Great Split: Class, Culture and the origins of Rugby League Football, Frank Cass Publishers, (1998) pg 172. ISBN 0-7146-4424-2
  5. ^ Smith (1980), pg 463.
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Cliff Bowen
Llanelli RFC Captain
Succeeded by
Evan Lloyd