James Botham, the grandson of former England cricketer Ian Botham, has won his maiden call-up for Wales’ national rugby union side for the rest of their Autumn Nations Cup campaign. Botham, 22, had previously represented Wales youth teams as well as their senior Sevens outfit.
Born in Cardiff, James is the latest member of the Botham family to enjoy a successful sporting career. His grandfather Ian – who was recently made a life peer in the House of Lords – was one of England’s greatest post-war cricketers. Aside from cricket, Ian played football professionally for Scunthorpe United in the Football League.
Liam Botham, father of James and son of Ian, also played two sports professionally. Following in the footsteps of his father, Liam played three County Championship games for Hampshire in 1996 before turning his focus to rugby. He won an England rugby union call-up in 2000 but despite appearances in two of their tour matches, never won a senior cap. He went on to play top tier rugby league for Leeds Rhinos, London Broncos and Wigan Warriors in the early Noughties.
James once appeared on national television as a teenager during an interview with his grandfather when, on ITV’s Piers Morgan’s Life Stories, Ian recounted a story of James questioning Ian’s cricketing prowess as a child.
Though was born in Wales, James was brought up in the north-west of England but according to Ian, his allegiance to Wales has never been in doubt. Ian was recently quoted by The Times as saying, “I remember my wife Kath decorating a bedroom at home for ‘Jimbo’ when he was little. It had to be red, have the three feathers and we had to have some rugby posts in a barn we had. He’s always said he’s Welsh.”
James, a back-rower, could make his Wales debut this Saturday in their home fixture against Georgia.