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Cardiff Blues trio set to take on the Italians

International | 2nd December 2020

James Botham and Josh Adams have retained their starting spots, as Wales make nine changes for Saturday's Autumn Nations Cup finale against Italy.

Botham, who was a mid-campaign call-up to Wayne Pivac's squad, makes his third consecutive start on the international stage, joining British and Irish Lions Taulupe Faletau and Justin Tipuric, who returns from injury to replace Shane Lewis-Hughes, in the back row.

Liam Williams is the only change in the back three, meaning Josh Adams remains on the wing, and is set to win his 30 cap for Wales.

Lock Cory Hill, who re-joined his home region over the summer, is called onto the bench to make his fourth appearance of the autumn campaign.

There are a total of five players involved in the matchday 23 who have come through the Cardiff Blues pathway system, with young trio Callum Sheedy, Louis Rees-Zammit and Ioan Lloyd adding to academy graduates Hill and Botham.

Kieran Hardy and Callum Sheedy have been introduced at half back while George North is given the nod at outside centre.

“Saturday is another opportunity for these players and for us as a squad it is another opportunity to continue to build and to see the results of all the hard work in training,” said head coach Wayne Pivac.

“We have blooded eight new caps this campaign and importantly by the end of the match each of them would have had a number of appearances to their name.

“From the outset we wanted this campaign to be about giving players opportunity and we have done that.

“The hard work in training is coming through and we want to show that again on Saturday and finish the campaign on a high, with the performance and result we want.”

WALES TEAM TO PLAY ITALY (Saturday December 5, KO 16.45 Amazon Prime / S4C)

1. Nicky Smith (Ospreys) (37 Caps)

2. Sam Parry (Ospreys) (3 Caps)

3. Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs) (51 Caps)

4. Will Rowlands (Wasps) (4 Caps)

5. Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys) (142 Caps) (CAPT)

6. James Botham (Cardiff Blues) (2 Caps)

7. Justin Tipuric (Ospreys) (79 Caps)

8. Taulupe Faletau (Bath) (80 Caps)

9. Kieran Hardy (Scarlets) (1 Cap)

10. Callum Sheedy (Bristol Bears) (3 Caps)

11. Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester) (3 Caps)

12. Johnny Williams (Scarlets) (2 Caps)

13. George North (Ospreys) (97 Caps)

14. Josh Adams (Cardiff Blues) (29 Caps)

15. Liam Williams (Scarlets) (66 Caps)


16. Elliot Dee (Dragons) (32 Caps)

17. Wyn Jones (Scarlets) (29 Caps)

18. Leon Brown (Dragons) (11 Caps)

19. Cory Hill (Cardiff Blues) (28 Caps)

20. Aaron Wainwright (Dragons) (26 Caps)

21. Gareth Davies (Scarlets) (56 Caps)

22. Ioan Lloyd (Bristol Bears) (1 Cap)

23. Jonah Holmes (Dragons) (4 Caps)