PLAYER PROFILE : LIAM BOTHAM.

BORN: 26/8/77 BIRTHPLACE: Doncaster

HEIGHT: 6’0" WEIGHT: 15st

POSITION: Right Wing

Born in Yorkshire to a well known sporting family, Liam has always held a great interest in many sports. Now as a professional rugby player, he spends time fishing, shooting and playing golf. As a teenager Liam as well as playing rugby, played cricket at county level. Liam played on three occasions for Hampshire in 1996 (Photograph below). On these three occasions Liam took eight wickets for only 286 runs. His best bowling came from taking 5 wickets for 67 runs against Middlesex at Portsmouth.

At the age of 19 Liam made a decision which was to change his life. He resigned from county cricket and joined second division rugby club West Hartlepool. With the squad and Liam's playing struggling to survive, Liam joined Cardiff in Mid-1997. Previously in the centre, Cardiff moved Liam onto the wing. Within a single season, he had been selected by England to play for their U21's side. With Cardiff Liam continued to gain recognition with the public and international selectors, playing for both England Tourists and their A side. In the 1999/2000 season Liam scored 10 tries, 5 penalties and 2 conversions for his club side. With Liam's help and prolific try scoring Cardiff reached the 1/4 final of the Heineken Cup. With much media attention surrounding the Cup, Graham Henry (Wales Coach) asked Liam to consider his loyalty to his nationality when he was invited to join the Welsh Six Nations Squad. Within the week Liam had chosen not to play for Wales in the hope that he would one day earn himself an England jersey.

It was Newcastle's Conditioning Coach Steve Black (Blackie) who firstly made a move to bring Liam back to the North East from Cardiff. Blackie was geographically close to Liam at the time working with the Welsh international side with their fitness. Blackie's reputation, loyalty and love for Newcastle was one of the major reasons for which Liam eventually signed for the Falcons. Liam's Falcons contract was sealed during a half hour meeting between Rob and Liam's father/manager (Ian) on the bank of the river Tyne near Hexham whilst Ian fished. At the start of the 2000/2001 season Liam brought his family back to his northern home. His move to the Falcons came prior to his first international call up by England to take his place on their 2000 tour of Australia. Liam proved himself to be a physically and mentally strong player. He puts his good performances down to tough coaching and fierce opposition.

We look forward to watching Liam play in the Zurich Premiership throughout the season where he may have the opportunity to play against his most admired player Tim Horan (Saracens). In an England shirt he will hopefully play against (in his opinion) the most talented winger in the world Tana Umaga.