Cardiff Blues hands maiden professional contract to James Botham

James Botham made his debut for Cardiff Blues against Connacht this season
James Botham made his debut for Cardiff Blues against Connacht this season

Cardiff Blues has confirmed that flanker James Botham has been handed his maiden professional contract.

Grandson of England's famous retired cricketer Sir Ian Botham, James made his debut for the club earlier in the season during the game against Connacht and has represented Wales U20 side in the past. His father Liam Botham has also played for the club in the past and had stints with Newcastle Falcons and Leeds Tykes before switching codes to Rugby League between 2003 and 2005.

James expressed his delight in signing his professional contract with the Blues and is looking to propel his career with the Welsh regional side.

"It's great to sign my first professional deal and I'm really happy it's at Cardiff Blues, where I've spent the last three years in the academy," he said.

"It was a massive honour to make my PRO14 debut earlier in the season having played a lot in the Anglo-Welsh Cup, in the A-League and Cardiff RFC - now I am hungry for more.

"You only have to look at the likes of Owen Lane, Jarrod Evans and Dillon Lewis to see how quickly young players can progress at Cardiff Blues, so this is definitely the right environment for me to improve as a player.

"I'm also really excited about the potential of this squad and what we can achieve in the future with so many good young players coming through to compliment the established guys and internationals."