Ian Botham's grandson to make Wales debut against Georgia
Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) –
England cricket legend Ian Botham's grandson, James, will make his debut for Wales in Saturday's Autumn Nations Cup match against Georgia as coach Wayne Pivac picked an experimental side with an eye on the future.
James Botham, a former Wales Under-20 international who plays for Cardiff Blues, is the son of Liam Botham, the son of Ian, and himself a former professional cricket, rugby union and rugby league player, who appeared for Cardiff in the 1990s.
Botham is one of three uncapped players named by Pivac for the match which will take place behind closed doors at Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli.
Scrum-half Kieran Hardy and centre Johnny Williams will also earn their first caps in a game Pivac will be desperate to win after six successive defeats, their worst run since 2012.
Full-back Liam Williams to one side, the Wales backline is an experimental one, with fly-half Callum Sheedy and winger Louis Rees-Zammit both making their first starts for their country.
Johnny Williams partners Nick Tompkins in the midfield with Rees-Zammit, New Zealand-born Johnny McNicholl and Liam Williams comprising the back-three.
An experienced front-row of Wyn Jones, Elliot Dee and Samson Lee are named with Jake Ball and Seb Davies packing down in the second-row.
Botham debuts in the backrow alongside captain Justin Tipuric and Aaron Wainwright.
"Saturday is a huge opportunity for the players and for us as a squad looking ahead to the future and to RWC 2023," said Pivac.
"As we have said all along, the Autumn Nations Cup is a great platform for us to give opportunities to players, to build depth and experience.
"It’s a great honour for the new caps and the players making their first starts, they have trained well and deserve this opportunity to represent their country."
Sam Parry, Nicky Smith and Leon Brown provide the front-row cover on the bench with Cory Hill and James Davies completing the forward contingent. Rhys Webb, uncapped Ioan Lloyd and Jonah Holmes provide the back-line cover.
Liam Williams; Johnny McNicholl, Nick Tompkins, Johnny Williams, Louis Rees-Zammit; Callum Sheedy, Kieran Hardy; Aaron Wainwright, Justin Tipuric (capt), James Botham; Seb Davies, Jake Ball; Samson Lee, Elliot Dee, Wyn Jones
Replacements: Sam Parry, Nicky Smith, Leon Brown, Cory Hill, James Davies, Rhys Webb, Ioan Lloyd, Jonah Holmes
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