'There will be no problems for me': England sporting legend set to switch national allegiance to support Welsh debutant grandson
Ian Botham, one of England’s great sporting heroes, reckons he knows exactly who he will be cheering for should his grandson James ever takes the field in a rugby test against England.
“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 been a successful professional in three sports – cricket, rugby union and rugby league.
The 22-year-old Cardiff Blues flanker James is known 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 Botham.
“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.
“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.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 20, 2020
Botham’s connection with Wales was always strong even before son Liam made his name as a prolific try-scoring Cardiff wing.
“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,” he said.
Only called into the Wales squad on Monday, James Botham said he was excited by the prospect of his international debut after just 13 professional games.
“I was just looking at it thinking ‘this can’t be real!’ but it is and I can’t wait to go out there now,” he said.
And he recalled words of advice from his grandfather as he prepared for the Autumn Nations Cup clash.
“He (Ian) says, ‘Be professional about it, ignore the haters you will always get, keep your head down, try and become the best you can, and the perks come with it. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Enjoy yourself – that’s the main thing’,” he said.
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