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Woodward in talks with Botham
January 18, 2000

The future of Cardiff winger Liam Botham, son of famous England cricketer Ian, was still uncertain on Monday night after being named for a Welsh Six Nations trial.

Clive Woodward, the England coach, revealed he had spoken at length to Botham who told him he did not want to be treated as a special case, according to a Rugby Football Union (RFU)statement.

The English management, the statement said, had closely watched Botham's progress for some time but Woodward would not alter his decision to name the England Six Nations and A squads on January 27 as planned.

"Liam stressed to Clive...that any selection decisions involving him(should be) made purely on merit," the statement said.

Botham has promised Welsh coach Graham Henry an answer over his participation in the trial by January 24.

He has been with Cardiff for the last 2 1/2 years after switching from West Hartlepool.

Botham has played for England under-21s but will qualify to play for Wales in October under the three-year residency rule.

"We are going to include him in the trial in two weeks' time," said Henry. "If he wants to play it's up to Liam to make that decision but playing in the trials wouldn't stop him playing for anybody else.

"It is not an 'A' game or an international match but if he were to play it would suggest he is making a move in one direction.

"I would say he is good enough to be considered for Wales at the moment, he is up there with the best of them.

"Liam is an excellent all-round footballer and he has a lot going for him."

Henry is expected to name a squad of 70 players this week for two trial matches to be played in Swansea on January 29.

The coach told BBC radio that "I guess by making a few noises in his direction, we've stirred up a can of worms here."

But he said Wales were very relaxed about it and Botham, whom he described as a "positive personality who doesn't make mistakes," would make a decision on what he wanted to do by Monday next week.

Botham, who has always been shy of trading on his father's name and reputation, played cricket for English county Hampshire before turning full time to rugby.

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