Sunday, November 29, 2020

Autumn Nations Cup: Wales call up James Botham and Johnny McNicholl

Autumn Nations Cup: Wales call up James Botham and Johnny McNicholl

James Botham, grandson of cricket great Sir Ian, has impressed in the Cardiff Blues back-row
Venue: Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli Date: Saturday, 21 November Kick-off: 17:15 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 Live, Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Sport website and app, S4C

Wales have called up Cardiff Blues back-rower James Botham and Scarlets wing Johnny McNicholl to the squad for the rest of the Autumn Nations Cup.

Botham is the grandson of former England cricketer Lord Botham and son of ex-Cardiff wing Liam.

The 22-year-old has played for Wales Under-18s, Under-20s and Sevens and has been in impressive form for his region.

Botham was set to play for Cardiff Blues against Benetton in the Pro14 on Monday but pulled out to join Wales.

Wales have back-row injury concerns with Josh Navidi (concussion) and Ross Moriarty (ankle) yet to figure in the autumn campaign.

“It is really exciting for him (Botham) and his family and we are excited for him as a group and proud of his efforts,” said Cardiff Blues head coach John Mulvihill.

“All of the Welsh boys who put on the blue jersey want to switch it to a red one at some stage.

“He is just another one we have pushed through into this autumn series, with Shane Lewis-Hughes also going away with Wales.

“He has got some physical aggression, is hard on the ball and a very good ball carrier. He brings massive energy to people around him so we are looking forward to seeing him in a Welsh jersey.”

McNicholl, 30, suffered an ankle injury in the 11-6 European Challenge Cup quarter-final defeat against Toulon in September.

He was expected to miss two months but returned two weeks early and has played in the last three Scarlets matches.

McNicholl was man of the match in Scarlets’ 20-14 win over Connacht after setting up three tries.

Wales have suffered six straight defeats under Wayne Pivac and have three more games in the Autumn Nations Cup against Georgia on 21 November, England on 28 November and a play-off match on 5 December.

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