Botham's grandson to make Wales debut
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Wales have named three uncapped players in their starting XV to face Georgia at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday.
Flank James Botham – the grandson of cricket legend Ian Botham – scrumhalf Kieran Hardy and centre Johnny Williams will all earn their first cap in Llanelli.
There are further milestones in the starting line-up as Wales continue to look to the future and build for the next World Cup cycle, with Callum Sheedy and Louis Rees-Zammit both making their first starts for their country.
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, who trained with the national squad as part of this year’s Six Nations, will make his debut alongside captain Justin Tipuric and Aaron Wainwright.
Hardy will make his debut at his regional home ground and partner Sheedy who starts at flyhalf for the first time.
Williams will be partnered on his first appearance by Nick Tompkins in the midfield with Rees-Zammit, Johnny McNicholl and Liam Williams comprising the back-three.
“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 Wayne Pivac.
“As we have said all along, the 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.
Wales: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Nick Tompkins, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Louis Rees-Zammit, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Kieran Hardy, 8 Aaron Wainwright, 7 Justin Tipuric (Captain), 6 James Botham, 5 Seb Davies, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Wyn Jones.
Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Nicky Smith, 18 Leon Brown, 19 Cory Hill, 20 James Davies, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Ioan Lloyd, 23 Jonah Holmes
Date: Saturday, November 21
Venue: Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli.
Kick-off: 17.15 (21.15 Georgia Time)
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland) & Frank Murphy (Ireland)
TMO: Joy Neville (Ireland)