James Botham retains Wales place against England in Autumn Nations Cup

James Botham – grandson of cricket great Sir Ian Botham – retains his place in the back row for Wales and will face England in Saturday’s Autumn Nations Cup fixture.

Cardiff Blues scrum-half Lloyd Williams will make his first Wales start for four years while the back row will be missing Justin Tipuric and Josh Navidi.

Tipuric suffered a head knock during the victory over Georgia last weekend, and Navidi remains unavailable as he continues his recovery from concussion. Williams, who has won 30 caps, partners Dan Biggar at half-back, with Botham moving from blindside to openside flanker following a promising Test debut in the Georgia game.

Cardiff-born Botham is joined in the back row by Shane Lewis-Hughes and Taulupe Faletau, and with centre Jonathan Davies sidelined because of a knee injury, Nick Tompkins and Johnny Williams again forge Wales’s midfield combination.

Scarlets centre Williams qualifies for Wales through his father, who is from Rhyl. He represented England and scored a try in a non-cap game against the Barbarians last year.

Elsewhere, the 19-year-old Gloucester wing Louis Rees-Zammit wins a third Test cap, Ryan Elias returns at hooker and captain Alun Wyn Jones is partnered in the second row by Jake Ball, but full-back Liam Williams misses out.

“Saturday is another great opportunity for us and for this squad,” said head coach Wayne Pivac. “It is another chance for us to take what we have been doing in training and take that into matchday and we are looking forward it. We know what we need to do and we are focused on that for Saturday.”

source: theguardian.com

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