Botham handed "dream" start for Wales against England – and has Jones’ attention

Eddie Jones insists he is on his guard after Wales picked Ian Botham’s grandson to play rugby against England.

Aussie cricket fanatic Jones remembers only too well the destruction wreaked by Beefy in the 1981 Ashes.

And after Cardiff flanker James was chosen to start tomorrow’s Nations Cup clash in Llanelli, he said: “I just hope he's not as good an all-rounder as his grandfather”.

Asked if he was wary of coming up against a Botham, Jones replied: “Yeah, 100 per cent.

“His grandfather was an incredible cricketer, one of the best I have seen – his ability to turn a match. The boy playing has got good genes.”

James, 22, made his debut last week as Wales snapped a six-game losing streak against Georgia. But this is the game he says he has been waiting his whole life for.

“It’s a dream come true, I have literally dreamt this moment since I was a kid, chucking a ball around,” he said.

“Words can’t really describe. You work for something your whole life, to get the jersey on and play against England.


“Obviously people gives me stick about the family being English but in my heart I’m Wales through and through."

Any famous offspring will tell you they have to work twice as hard to make a name for themselves and James is no different.

“It’s just one of those things,” he said. “You keep your head down, get on with it and try and do your own thing instead of having it all ‘grandad this, grandad that’. It’s about creating my own legacy.”

The only sadness is that the family are unable to be at Parc y Scarlets for James’ big day.

Dad Liam said: “We’ll be at home unfortunately which is very, very frustrating. But we’ve ordered the seafood platters and some nice wine and we’ll sit down as a family and watch the game together.

“I’m incredibly proud,” added James’ father, who played twice for England on their 2000 tour of South Africa. “I don’t think I’ve ever smiled so much in my life.

“I’ll be singing the National Anthem – then hoping Wales win. I understand why people ask about Jimbo and Wales, because his grandad was so obviously England.

“But he was born in Cardiff and has never felt anything but Welsh. His bedroom wall had Welsh rugby shirts on it. There was never a conversation to be had.”

Jones, who welcomes back fly-half George Ford after injury, with captain Owen Farrell reverting to centre, has demanded England play with an intensity Wales have “never” faced before.

“All week they have heard people talk about England and the challenge we will bring,:" he said. "They have been prodded and told their coach is under pressure. We can’t underestimate them."

England have been given the go-ahead to have 2,000 fans at Twickenham for next Sunday’s Nations Cup finale.

WALES: Halfpenny; Adams, Tompkins, J Williams, Rees-Zammit; Biggar, Lloyd Williams; W Jones, Elias, Lee, Ball, Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Lewis-Hughes, Botham, Faletau.

Replacements: Dee, Carre, Francis, Rowlands, Wainwright, Webb, Sheedy, Watkin. 

ENGLAND: Daly; Joseph, Slade, Farrell (capt), May; Ford, Youngs; M Vunipola, George, Sinckler, Itoje, Launchbury, Curry, Underhill, B Vunipola.

Replacements: Cowan-Dickie, Genge, Stuart, Hill, Earl, Willis, Robson, Watson.

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