Sport runs through the genes of the Butler family with Will an all-rounder, who scored two tries on his England U17 debut against France and then played his first game at U18 level against the corresponding French team in February last year. Remarkably, his U20 baptism was also against Les Bleus this February, which he celebrated with a try, followed by another against Wales at Colwyn Bay six days later. Will played in all five matches in this year’s World U20 Championship in Georgia, starting four of them.
He wants to be the best player he can, push himself to the highest levels of the game and is eager to study business management at university, go to the City and earn a healthy living. Will has other ambitions, too. He said: “I see becoming an officer in the Army as a strong option and it is a good way to experience the world and serve your country in a different way.”
A product of Hereford Cathedral School, where he took A-levels in economics, biology and PE, he had attended Ann Cam Primary School in Dymock. He is a member of the Worcester Warriors Academy, played for Ledbury from U7 to U17 level and represented Herefordshire, North Midlands, the Midlands and England Lions in the U16 age group. Macclesfield-born Will also captained Herefordshire U15 and U16 at cricket and plays for the Colwall club. His older brother Ben and younger sibling George also have a liking for the willow and have both represented Herefordshire at age group level. Younger sister Sophie plays hockey for Herefordshire.
Rugby has been the game for the male side of the Will’s family. Pete, his father, played for Durham University, Staines, Amersham & Chiltern and Ledbury. Grandfather John Butler was secretary of Hereford for 25 years while his other grandfather Craig Nicholl captained Moseley Public Schools and great grandfather Douglas Payne played for Moseley.
His mentors past and present are mum and dad Fi and Pete, who shaped his passion for rugby, Jeremy Thomas at Ledbury RFC from the age of seven to 13, and school coaches Richard Skyrme and Guy Griffiths. He said: “Sam Vesty (the Warriors Academy backs coach in 2014) saw my potential as a player. As a coach, he was creative and enthusiastic about our backs play – a reason why I think he was promoted to the club’s first team backs coach two years ago.
“I was always amazed by the way Brian O’Driscoll played. Given that he wasn’t the biggest centre on the pitch he always seemed to have time on the ball and manipulated defences. The way he carried himself off the field was also something I admired.”
10 points – 2T
2017 F, W, S, I, World Championship – Sam, W(R), A, SA, NZ
Last updated: 19 June 2017