Botham scores but loses on England A debut
February 18, 2000

France A beat England A 26-20.

Liam Botham, son of English cricket legend Ian, made a scoring start to his international rugby career for England A against their French counterparts on Friday evening.

But the fledgeling international ended up on the losing side as the hosts ran out 26-20 winners over the English second string after Botham had left the field injured at the interval.He left the stadium without comment after undergoing treatment on his thigh strain.Botham was picked amid much fanfare after interest had been shown by Wales for the Cardiff winger who lost no time in showing why he is regarded as such an outstanding prospect.

Inspired by captain Mark Mapletoft , England had the better of the opening period and after 19 minutes it was Botham who showed his father's knack of grabbing the headlines by touching down for the first try of the match after a series of slick passing moves from his team mates.He touched down in the corner after what was his first really significant moment of the match.

A second try was added eight minutes later by Peter Scrivener of Wasps after Martin Wood took a quick penalty when the French were penalised just five metres from their line.Botham deserved some credit for that score too , having been part of the movement that forced the French to concede that penalty.

France were trailing 17-6 but fought back with Arnaud Costes setting up winger Pascal Bomati who touched down in the corner and then David Auradou touched down again to make the interval score 17-16 to the English.

Botham was one of several players replaced at the halfway point and France forged ahead in the second period with the only try after the interval scored by Costes.

At least Botham will be able to look back on his try.His father, too, made a dramatic entrance on the international scene, grabbing five wickets against Australia on his Test match debut at Trent Bridge in 1977.

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