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Botham’s grandson to line up for Wales

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20th November, 2020
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Ian Botham, one of England’s great sporting heroes, reckons he knows exactly who he will be cheering for should his grandson James ever take the field in a rugby Test against England.

“When England play Wales there will be no problems for me,” reckons the Ashes cricket legend who is these days Lord Botham.

“It will be, ‘Come on, Jimbo!”

Botham, who has always been the proudest of Englishmen, told BBC Wales that he was delighted James has been selected to play his first rugby international for Wales against Georgia on Saturday.

It maintains the tradition of the Botham sporting dynasty with James’ dad Liam having also been a successful professional in three sports – cricket, rugby union and rugby league.

Ian Botham plays a hook shot

Ian Botham is an English cricket legend. (Photo by Adrian Murrell/Allsport/Getty Images/Hulton Archive)

The 22-year-old Cardiff Blues flanker James is know as ‘Jimbo’ to his family and both his dad and grandad could not be prouder of his selection.

“I will be absolutely delighted when he gets that Wales cap,” said the 63-year-old.

“I have been on the wagon for four weeks and my next drink was going to be Christmas Day. But you never know, I might sneak one on Saturday.

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“Nothing will ever give me more pride than when the family does well.

“Liam went to the England squad on tour to South Africa (in 2000) and probably would have played in the last Test if he had not gone down with a bug.”

Botham’s connection with Wales was always strong even before son Liam made his name as a prolific try-scoring Cardiff wing.

“I have my own love affair with Welsh rugby,” he said.

“You go back to the playing side of things with Jiffy [ex-Wales fly-half Jonathan Davies]. I have been good mates with him for a very long time.

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“I have a lot of friends in Wales and we have done some (charity) walks there with the hospitals, so I have a strong affiliation with Wales.

“It has always been rugby and Wales for Jimbo, 100 per cent. He has never looked anywhere else.

“He used to get stick at school with people saying things, but he always said, ‘I want to play for Wales, I don’t want to play for England. I was born in Wales, I played under-18s and 20s’.

“We have watched him all the way from schools, as we have all the grandchildren, and when Liam was playing. We are a family and we have enjoyed each other’s success.

“It gets better and better the older I get and the younger these guys are in the family. It’s fantastic.

“We might not be able to be there, but it will still be a fantastic feeling.

“If I was in Outer Mongolia I would find some way of watching him. We just have to live in the times we are in at the moment.”

© AAP