Wales vs Georgia: Uncapped James Botham, Kieran Hardy, Johnny Williams start in Autumn Nations Cup
Wales head coach Wayne Pivac makes 13 changes to his starting XV to face Georgia in Llanelli on Saturday (5.15pm kick off) in the Autumn Nations Cup. James Botham, Kieran Hardy and Johnny Williams are in for their debuts, Callum Sheedy and Louis Rees-Zammit in for their first Test starts.
By Michael Cantillon @mike_cantillon
Last Updated: 19/11/20 2:05pm
Wayne Pivac has named three uncapped players in his starting Wales team to face Georgia in Llanelli on Saturday, with a further two players making their first Test starts.
In some 13 changes to the XV, Cardiff Blues back-row James Botham - grandson of former England cricketer Sir Ian Botham - Scarlets scrum-half Kieran Hardy and Scarlets centre Johnny Williams are all in for their Test debuts.
Bristol Bears out-half Callum Sheedy and Gloucester wing Louis Rees-Zammit are also in for their first Test starts, while uncapped Bristol back Ioan Lloyd is in line for his debut off the bench.
Only Liam Williams - who swaps from wing to full-back - and flanker Justin Tipuric - who captains the side - have kept their places from the side that lost 32-9 to Ireland last week - a sixth successive defeat for Wales.
Scarlets wing Johnny McNicholl and Dragons centre Nick Tompkins complete the back division alongside Liam Williams, Johnny Williams, Rees-Zammit, Sheedy and Hardy.
In the forwards, Scarlets props Wyn Jones and Samson Lee start either side of Dragons hooker Elliot Dee, while the second row is made up of Scarlets' Jake Ball and Cardiff Blues' Seb Davies.
Dragons back-row Aaron Wainwright joins Tipuric and Botham in the starting back-row.
Among the replacements, Ospreys hooker Sam Parry, prop Nicky Smith and scrum-half Rhys Webb, Dragons tighthead Leon Brown and back Jonah Holmes, Cardiff Blues lock Cory Hill and Scarlets flanker James Davies are named.
"Saturday is a huge opportunity for the players and for us as a squad looking ahead to the future and to RWC 2023," Wales head coach Pivac said on Thursday.
"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.
"Some of [the changes] is forced through injury. But it was the plan to utilise the squad.
"By the time this autumn is finished, everyone would have had an opportunity. We're sticking to that.
"We had a good look at him [James Botham] earlier in the campaign. We had him training with us and he's been in and around the group. He's impressed.
"In training, he's a very balanced rugby player. He's a good attacking threat as well as defensively. I've been very impressed with him as a man off the field. There's a lot to like.
"Pressure is coming internally. We're with each other every day of the week.
"We understand that results are what people want to see. The guys are determined to not only win, but put in a good performance."
Wales: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Nick Tompkins, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Louis Rees-Zammit, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Kieran Hardy; 1 Wyn Jones, 2 Elliot Dee, 3 Samson Lee, 4 Jake Ball, 5 Seb Davies, 6 Justin Tipuric (c), 7 James Botham, 8 Aaron Wainwright.
Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Nicky Smith, 18 Leon Brown, 19 Cory Hill, 20 James Davies, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Ioan Lloyd, 23 Jonah Holmes.