London – Ian Botham has insisted he will have no problems cheering for Wales when his grandson makes his representative international rugby union debut – and has even promised to take a red shirt with him.
James Botham, a flank has been selected to play for Wales Under-18 against Scotland Under-18 St Helens ground in the south Wales town of Swansea on Friday.
It is a venue his famous grandfather knows well, the legendary England all-rounder having played county cricket there for Somerset against Glamorgan.
James Botham was born in Wales while his father Liam Botham was playing for the Cardiff rugby union team. Liam spent three years with the Welsh capital side from 1997-2000.
And his grandfather has no qualms over Jim’s choice of allegiance.
“He was born in Cardiff. He always wanted to play for Wales for as long as I can recall,” Ian Botham told the BBC on Friday.
“I’m really looking forward to it. I think it will be wonderful, a great occasion for James and one that I think he’s very excited about, as are the family. I’ve got a red shirt with me,” added Botham, who took 383 Test wickets and scored 5 200 runs in an international career that included a stint as England captain.
He insisted he had never tried to change James’s mind and get him to opt for England instead.
“Never, it’s nothing to do with me,” he said. “I’m grandad, and grandad is going to come down and watch him and support him every game.
“Whether he’s playing or on the bench it doesn’t matter – all the family that can get down here will be here.
“And when Wales play England my allegiances would be with my grandson.”