Butch James

A nickname hard-earned despite the origin story being one of the sweetest, Butch James was a ferocious tackler and beefy lad. Learn more with Rugby365

Butch James Biography

A name that would be fitting for a front-rower, Butch James, however, spent his time playing at the number 10 position. This, of course, didn’t stop the flyhalf from earning his nickname the old-fashioned way.

Born on the 8th of January 1979, Andrew David ‘Butch’ James is a seasoned rugby player and one of the Springboks that lifted the Rugby World Cup trophy in 2007.

His usual position was flyhalf, but he could slot in at inside centre as well if need be. Despite primarily playing flyhalf, the general did not shy away from tackles and caused many an issue for friend and foe.

While his ferocious tackling fit the Springboks' style, his technique would often see him sent to the naughty corner with a yellow card. His nickname ‘Butch’ was given to him by his grandma, but he solidified it when he went onto the field.

He started his professional career at the Sharks and spent seven years playing for the Durban side. He never managed any gold in the top two rugby tournaments in which the Sharks participated (Super Rugby and the Currie Cup), despite making it to the finals of both competitions numerous times.

Butch James played 42 tests for the Springboks and scored 159 points. He made his debut in 2001 against France losing 32 - 23 at Ellis Park. His next game, also against France, he helped his team bag some crucial penalties that won them the game, but was cited and suspended afterwards for his defensive efforts.

He struggled with injuries throughout his career and almost missed out on playing in the Rugby World Cup due to a knee injury. Fortunately for the fearless flyhalf, he featured in three pool games and all three knock-out games.

After the Rugby World Cup Butch James opted to spend some time abraod playing for Bath Rugby. He helped his side lift the Challenge Cup in his first season and made it to the semifinals for three consecutive seasons.

At the end of his contract in 2011, he would return to South Africa to play for the Lions for two years, before ending his career with his first club, the Sharks.

A Springbok that seldom shied away from contest and competition, Butch James showed what South Africa can produce when talent is nurtured from a young age.