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Botham to make Test debut against Georgia

International | 19th November 2020

James Botham will make his international debut in Wales’ Autumn Nations Cup clash against Georgia on Saturday (KO 5.15pm).

The Cardiff Blues back row was withdrawn from Monday’s clash against Benetton Rugby and immediately slots into the starting line-up at Parc y Scarlets.

He is joined in the pack by regional team-mate Seb Davies, who returns having impressed in his cameo against France earlier in the autumn campaign.

Cory Hill is named on the bench, with the lock set to win his 28th cap on the international stage.

Three players who came through the Cardiff Blues pathway, who now ply their trade in the Gallagher Premiership, are also included in Wayne Pivac’s matchday 23.

Callum Sheedy and Louis Rees-Zammit will make their first starts on the international stage, while playmaker Ioan Lloyd could make his debut from the bench.

The head coach has made a total of 13 changes for the encounter, with captain Justin Tipuric and Liam Williams retaining their starting spots.

Scarlets duo Kieran Hardy and Johnny Williams are also set for their Test debuts, while Johnny McNicholl and Nick Tompkins return to the side.

“Saturday is a huge opportunity for the players and for us as a squad looking ahead to the future and to RWC 2023,” said Wales head coach 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.”

Following Botham’s call-up, the extended squad now contains a total of nine Cardiff Blues players and a total of 13 players have come through the region’s pathway.

WALES TEAM TO PLAY GEORGIA (Saturday November 21 KO17.15):

15. Liam Williams (Scarlets) (65 Caps)
14. Johnny McNicholl (Scarlets) (4 Caps)
13. Nick Tompkins (Dragons) (6 Caps)
12. Johnny Williams (Scarlets) (*Uncapped)
11. Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester) (1 Cap)
10. Callum Sheedy (Bristol Bears) (1 Cap)
9. Kieran Hardy (Scarlets) (*Uncapped)
1. Wyn Jones (Scarlets) (27 Caps)
2. Elliot Dee (Dragons) (30 Caps)
3. Samson Lee (Scarlets) (43 Caps)
4. Jake Ball (Scarlets) (47 Caps)
5. Seb Davies (Cardiff Blues) (8 Caps)
6. James Botham (Cardiff Blues) (*Uncapped)
7. Justin Tipuric (Ospreys) (78 Caps) (CAPT)
8. Aaron Wainwright (Dragons) (24 Caps)

16. Sam Parry (Ospreys) (2 Caps)
17. Nicky Smith (Ospreys) (36 Caps)
18. Leon Brown (Dragons) (10 Caps)
19. Cory Hill (Cardiff Blues) (27 Caps)
20. James Davies (Scarlets) (9 Caps)
21. Rhys Webb (Ospreys) (34 Caps)
22. Ioan Lloyd (Bristol Bears) (*Uncapped)
23. Jonah Holmes (Dragons) (3 Caps)