Botham’s Grandson Starts for Wales Against England


Cardiff, United Kingdom, Nov 26 (AFP/APP): The grandson of England cricket great Ian Botham will be in Wales’ starting line-up when they face England in an Autumn Nations Cup rugby union international at Llanelli on Saturday.

Cardiff flanker James Botham, who made his Test debut in last weekend’s win over Georgia — a result that ended a run of six straight defeats for Wales — retains his place. But Wales will be without experienced back-row forwards Justin Tipuric and Josh Navidi as they go up against a formidable England pack. Tipuric suffered a head knock during the 18-0 victory over Georgia and long-term absentee Navidi remains unavailable as he continues his recovery from concussion.

Cardiff-born Botham, who has moved from blindside to openside flanker, is joined in the back-row by Taulupe Faletau and Shane Lewis-Hughes. Behind the scrum, Cardiff scrum-half Lloyd Williams will make his first Wales start for four years. Williams, who has won 30 caps, partners Dan Biggar at half-back. Meanwhile, with centre Jonathan Davies still out with a knee injury, Nick Tompkins and Johnny Williams are Wales’ centre duo.

Scarlets centre Williams qualifies for Wales through his father, who is from Rhyl. Meanwhile captain Alun Wyn Jones returns to the starting line-up, with the veteran lock partnered by Jake Ball in the second row. Teenage wing Louis Rees-Zammit wins a third Test cap but full-back Liam Williams misses out with a facial injury.

Wales (15-1) Leigh Halfpenny, Louis Rees-Zammit, Nick Tompkins, Johnny Williams, Josh Adams; Dan Biggar, Lloyd Williams; Taulupe Faletau, James Botham, Shane Lloyd-Hughes; Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Jake Ball; Samson Lee, Ryan Elias, Wyn Jones Replacements: Elliot Dee, Rhys Carre, Tomas Francis, Will Rowlands, Aaron Wainwright, Rhys Webb, Callum Sheedy, Owen Watkin Coach: Wayne Pivac (NZL)

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