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Four unforgettable moments of Eddie Butler commentary

By Stefan Frost
Eddie Butler and Peter Jackson (Photo by Ross Setford/EMPICS via Getty Images)

The rugby world has been left saddened by the sudden passing of former Wales international and commentary juggernaut Eddie Butler.


For many, Butler’s deep baritone was the voice of the Six Nations, his poetic soliloquies perfectly capturing the pomp and spectacle of every dramatic occasion.

Well-wishers, from Brian Moore to Jonathan Davies, have spoken of the privilege they felt calling games alongside the Welsh titan.

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And while his long stint behind the microphone was incredibly illustrious, let us not forget his equally impressive on-field career.

He studied French and Spanish at Cambridge, during which time he earnt his University Blues in three consecutive years. From then he captained Pontypool RFC, earnt 16 Wales caps and was picked for the British Lions in 1983.

After hanging up his boots in 1985, Butler moved into the media and has been at home there ever since.

There are countless examples of his lyrical brilliant in the commentary box. Below, RugbyPass takes a look at just a few of his most memorable moments.


Ireland vs France, 2018
A late 45-metre drop goal by Johnny Sexton stole victory away from the French in this fixture at the Stade de France. With the clock in the red, the hosts were leading by a mere point, but their advantage slipped away right at the death thanks to a huge intervention from the Ireland fly-half.

The kick is one of the most infamous moments in the Six Nations and was captured brilliantly by Butler: “Sexton waits, here it comes. It looks good. He likes it. Nigel Owens’ arm goes up.

“And Ireland have stolen the game right at the death. And the players tear back into their own 22. And Guilhem Guirado – look at that face. Look at that body.

“France put themselves in a winning position, only for Ireland to steal it with the last kick of the game.”


Wales vs England, 2005
Sometimes Butler would exercise his comical edge, even at the tensest of moments. The best example of this came when Wales were trailing England 8-9 in the 2005 Six Nations.

With four minutes left on the clock, Welsh fly-half Gavin Henson stepped up to take a long-range penalty near the right touchline.

At the time, Henson was known for his grooming habits and so, in the build up to the kick, Butler jokingly referenced the shaving habits of the Welsh back, perfectly balancing it with suitable roar when the penalty was converted.

“If he kicks this, he can shave whichever part of his body he wants.”

Butler then paused as Henson approaches the ball before slotting the kick, much to the delight of the home crowd.

“Fantastic. Shave away Gavin, shave away. Wales are in the lead.”

Wales vs Ireland, 2005
In the final round of the same Six Nations, Wales faced Ireland with the chance of winning a first Grand Slam in 27 years. Wales delivered, with the weight of history upon their shoulders, toppling Ireland to also claim a first Triple Crown in 16 years.

When commentating on the game, Butler used his trademark imagery and patient commentary to capture the emotional magnitude of the occasion. His most memorable lines came when Kevin Morgan crossed the line to all but confirm the win.

“Michael Owen with the dummy. Oh he has got wonderful hands the Welsh number eight.

“Martin Williams with the dive pass. Tom Shanklin, Shanklin for the line. KEVIN MORGAN!

“Morgan, to put the seal on the win. To put the cream on a Grand Slam cake.”

Wales vs England, 2008
For years Twickenham was a fortress for England. A place where few visitors enjoyed success.

But all that changed in 2008 when Wales mounted a second half comeback and scored 20 unanswered points in 13 minutes to topple England 26-19.

The win was Wales’ first in 20 years on English soil and marked the emphatic opening of the Warren Gatland era.

The comeback reached its height when Lee Byrne dotted down in the corner and was elevated by the words of Butler.

“It’s all happening. Lee Byrne! And the conversion would bring the scores level. Warren Gatland’s Wales are back. They said they wouldn’t give up. They haven’t.

“Oh England what have you done and Wales what are you doing.”


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