Wales had a glorious Six Nations campaign. In particular, their spirit and motivation during the Ireland match was wonderful to see. Additionally, this captivating spirt is embodied by New Zealand born Gareth Anscombe and Hadleigh Parkes. Both started their rugby careers in New Zealand and have opted to play for Wales in recent years. The same could be said for fellow Kiwi, Willis Halaholo.
Who is Halaholo?
Willis Halaholo is a centre with a lot of flair. He joined Cardiff Blues in 2016 after struggling to nail down a place at the Hurricanes, which is understandable when Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith were on the books.
Since his time in Cardiff, he has put on many a show for the Welsh capital. A perfect example of this is when he bagged himself a try and assisted two others against Munster at the start of the season. Additonally, Halaholo signed a new contract with Cardiff Blues, so he won’t be leaving the Cardiff region anytime soon.
What are his chances?
In a legal sense, they’re pretty strong. Halaholo will be eligible for Welsh selection in 2020, when fellow New Zealander, Wayne Pivac takes charge of Wales. He will be eligible because he only needs to gain three years of residency, even though the laws have recently changed to five years. Pivac has recently commented on Halaholo.
“I have heard it’s on the horizon but when it’s confirmed, it’s confirmed.”, this can only support his chances for pulling on the red jersey further.
In a playing sense, he also puts forward a strong case for selection. Halaholo will be twenty nine when he can be selected for Wales, which is not exactly young in rugby terms. On the plus side, he offers something a little different from the other Welsh centres. He offers more flair and a dangerous step. Combine this with Anscombe attacking prowess, it can only end in a strong attacking option for the Welsh.
Welsh fans should be elated.
With the recent success of Hadleigh Parkes, Welsh fans should welcome Halaholo with open arms. He can only offer more competition to an already competitive team, helping himself and others strive to be the best on the international scene.
Willis Halaholo earliest chance for selection will be in 2020, against the All Blacks. This would be an immense opportunity to see Halaholo in action and will hopefully be the start of positives things to come.
Written by Sam Powell