James Botham, grandson of Sir Ian, to make Wales debut as Wayne Pivac changes 13 for Georgia

James Botham - James Botham, Grandson of Sir Ian, to make Wales debut as Wayne Pivac changes 13 for Georgia - GETTY IMAGES
James Botham – James Botham, Grandson of Sir Ian, to make Wales debut as Wayne Pivac changes 13 for Georgia – GETTY IMAGES

Wales, in desperate need of a victory after six straight defeats, have made 13 changes to face Georgia from the side that lost to Ireland in Dublin last week.

Scrum-half Kieran Hardy and centre Johnny Williams both make their debuts for Wales, as does flanker James Botham, the grandson of England cricket great Sir Ian Botham, who was called up by Wales head coach Wayne Pivac earlier this week.

Bristol back Ioan Lloyd is named on the bench and the 19-year-old could also make his Test debut, while there is a first start on the wing for Gloucester’s try-scoring teenage star Louis Rees-Zammit after recently making his debut against France.

Regular starters Alun Wyn Jones, Taulupe Faletau, Gareth Davies, Dan Biggar, Jonathan Davies and Josh Adams are all rested, with Justin Tipuric captaining the side as he wins his 79th cap for Wales

“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 Autumn 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.”

Johnny McNicholl, also called up by Wales this week along with Botham, starts on the right wing, winning his fifth cap.

George North, who won his 100th Test cap last weekend coming off the bench against Ireland, has been released back to Ospreys to play for his region this weekend.

Jonah Holmes, now with Dragons and formerly at Leicester Tigers, is on the bench and poised to win a fourth Test cap after missing out on selection for last year’s Rugby World Cup.

Starting XV: Liam Williams, Johnny McNicholl, Nick Tompkins, Johnny Williams, Louis Rees-Zammit, Callum Sheedy, Kieran Hardy; Wyn Jones, Elliot Dee, Samson Lee, Jake Ball, Seb Davies, James Botham, Justin Tipuric (captain), Aaron Wainwright.
Replacements: Sam Parry, Nicky Smith, Leon Brown, Cory Hill, James Davies, Rhys Webb, Ioan Lloyd, Jonah Holmes.

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