Pontypool, CURUFC, Wales and the BBC
Eddie Butler (Fitzwilliam 1976)
When word reached the University’s Rugby Union Football Club that Eddie Butler had played for Pontypool in the September before matriculation, he was hunted down immediately. “It was nearly as weird as the year before, when a posse of players from the Industrial Engineers of Madrid took me out on the town in order to secure my signature on the player registration form, based on half an hour of passing a ball around in the Casa de Campo,” he said. “It turned into a two-day bender, six of us swaying around the capital on two Vespas, before they put the form in front of me. I said I would have signed within 10 seconds.”
Born in Newport, Wales, Eddie says playing rugby is sewn into his genetic fabric. While studying French and Spanish at Cambridge, he played in three consecutive Varsity matches. He went on to captain Wales on six occasions, as well as captaining the powerful Pontypool RFC – one of the most notable clubs in Welsh rugby – between 1982 and 1985.
Defeating the English team in 1984 at Twickenham is the match Eddie considers to be his greatest sporting achievement. “I was no longer captain but I played in our away win. International rugby isn’t what you’d call a whole load of fun, but I do look back on that game with a certain fondness.”
“I have a regard for the murky characters of sport. I hate the phrase ‘role model’, and much prefer sport to be a haven for troubled souls, who without it would be behind bars.” Now retired from the game, Eddie says his work as a journalist and BBC sports commentator is a great deal of fun. “My greatest pleasure is to be on BBC duty, on Saturdays of the Six Nations, walking slowly to the ground, with a pile of morning newspapers under my arm and a coffee shop not far away.”
CURUFC alumni can find out more about the club's activities on the 'Friends of Cambridge' website.