British and Irish Lions | Tributes pour in for Lion and rugby legend Eddie Butler

Tributes were paid to British & Irish Lion #601 and iconic broadcaster Eddie Butler, who died aged 65.

Butler was called up to the British and Irish Lions squad which toured New Zealand in 1983, replacing Jeff Squire, and made one appearance.

The No.8 played 16 times for Wales and captained them on six occasions, scoring two tries.

He was a legend at his club Pontypool, captaining the team between 1982 and 1985, and after retiring from rugby he carved out a remarkable career in journalism, broadcasting and commentary.

Tributes have already started pouring in to honor a great of the game, with World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont calling Butler one of the finest commentators of his time.

After beginning his journalism career with the Sunday Correspondent in 1988, Butler began writing for The Observer in 1991.

He joined BBC Wales in 1990, beginning his commentating career alongside Bill McLaren before becoming the BBC’s principal rugby commentator.

His partnership with former Lions and England hooker Brian Moore has been widely praised and his commentator partner tweeted that he admires Butler as a broadcaster and as a man.

The prose accompanying Butler’s montage has been the backdrop not only to sporting events, but also to some of the biggest news stories of the past two decades.

The last he did marked the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

He has commentated on Olympic sports, as well as the Invictus Games, and has also put his voice on edits for the BBC’s flagship NFL programmes. He has also published three novels and two non-fiction books.

Two-time Tour captain and fellow broadcaster Sam Warburton said: “Stunned by the news and the passing of Eddie Butler. Thoughts with his family.

“What an incredible contribution to rugby and broadcasting. A privilege to have played and co-commentated with his voice.

Scott Quinnell, who toured with the Lions in 1997 and 2001, said: “Absolutely devastated to hear the news. Eddie was such a wonderful man. I have always enjoyed our discussions, especially over a pint. Love and thoughts to Sue and family.

Charles P. Patton