London: The grandson of England cricket great Ian Botham received his first call-up into the Wales rugby squad in dramatic style on Monday ahead of this weekend’s Autumn Nations Cup international against Georgia.
James Botham, a 22-year-old flanker, was set to start for the Cardiff Blues against Benetton Treviso. But just over an hour before Monday’s kick-off it was announced he had been withdrawn from the Pro14 fixture.
Fans will have to wait until Thursday, when Wales coach Wayne Pivac announces his team to play Georgia, to discover whether former Wales Under-20 international Botham is in line for a full Test debut against the Lelos at Llanelli on Saturday.
Botham is the son of Liam Botham, a former professional cricket, rugby union and rugby league player, who appeared for Cardiff in the 1990s.
Wing Johnny McNicholl has also been added to the squad after missing out on initial selection due to injury as Wales look to end a run of six successive Test defeats this weekend.
Botham has been in fine form during his four games for Cardiff this season, averaging 16 tackles per match, with a tackle success rate of 96 percent.
Ian Botham played 102 Tests for England from 1977-1992, and was widely considered to be one of the finest all-rounders of his generation. The 64-year-old former England captain, a supporter of Brexit, recently became a member of the House of Lords, Britain’s unelected second chamber of Parliament and his official title is now Lord Botham.