Botham named in Cardiff Blues side for Dragons clash

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Cardiff Blues head coach John Mulvihill has been boosted by the return of James Botham to the starting XV for the Boxing Day game against Dragons, 3pm kick-off.

It will be Botham’s first club game since the loss to Ulster in November, having been called up to the Wales squad for the Autumn Nations Cup and making his international debut against Georgia, going on to play against England and Italy.

He sat out the win over Newcastle Falcons as a precaution after picking up a knock on national team duty, but will now provide an out-and-out openside option for the first time in a few games.

Botham is the only change to the starting XV that should have taken the field against Stade Francais Paris last week, with Alun Lawrence dropping out and Josh Turnbull shifting to number eight.

There are two changes on the bench as Shane Lewis-Hughes is out of isolation to cover the back row, while Ben Thomas has gone into isolation so Jason Tovey takes over as the fly-half option.

Cardiff Blues: Hallam Amos, Aled Summerhill, Garyn Smith, Max Llewellyn, Josh Adams, Jarrod Evans, Lloyd Williams; Brad Thyer, Kris Dacey, Dillon Lewis, Ben Murphy, Seb Davies, Cory Hill (c), James Botham, Josh Turnbull

Replacements: Ethan Lewis, Rhys Carre, Dmitri Arhip, Rory Thornton, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Tomos Williams, Jason Tovey, Rey Lee-Lo

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