Willis Halaholo is out to prove that he belongs on the international stage as he prepares to line up against Argentina in the first of two Tests matches against the South American outfit (KO 1.00pm).
After winning four caps as a replacement in the victorious Guinness Six Nations campaign earlier this season, the centre made his first start last week as Wales kicked off their summer series with a convincing victory over Canada at Principality Stadium.
Halaholo is desperate to use his experience in the national set-up to continually improve as a player and is enjoying his partnership with experienced midfielder, Jonathan Davies, as they prepare to play in front of the Principality Stadium crowd once again.
“This is my first summer tour, and I’m just happy to be involved,” said the Cardiff star.
“It’s good for us new guys to see how things go, and if we’re fortunate to be involved in future tours then we’ll know what the go is.
“I’m trying to put my hand up and show that I can play at this level.
“I’m trying to soak up as much information and experience that I get. I’m just building and there will be better goals in the future but for now it’s just about showing I can step up at this level.
“For me I’ve learnt a lot off the field, especially with having everything there in terms of recovery, food and all that.
“I’m learning things about myself every day like taking care of my body to play at this level. It’s been good.
“It went well for a first hit out, and I thought the boys gelled in that game.
“We blew out the cobwebs, a lot of boys stepped up and I thought it went well.
“It was good [to play alongside Jonathan Davies]. Having someone of that calibre always makes the job easier for me.
“To have that experience inside you is something you can feed off and soak it up.
“Argentina will be a big test and a big step up from last week. We’ll take the learnings from last week but Argentina are a different beast.
“They’ll thrive from momentum and energy and they’ll get better and better as the game goes on.
“We’ll try to shut that down and see how we go.
“It was awesome but it felt a little bit strange for me because I haven’t played in front of a crowd since 2019, when I had my injury.
“It was good, especially to have my family there, which added to the occasion.
“It was my youngest one’s first time ever at one of my games so it was a special occasion to have them there.
“I saw them quite early on in the warm-up and I got quite emotional to see them. It got me up for the game.”
Halaholo’s Cardiff team-mate, Owen Lane, will make a long awaited return to the international stage.
The star wing won the last of his two caps in the 2019 Rugby World Cup Bronze Final against New Zealand.
Meanwhile, Lane’s fellow academy graduate Ben Thomas made his debut in Welsh colours during last week’s victory over Canada.
Having over-come a series of injuries, Halaholo is backing Lane to hit the ground running upon his return to the Test arena.
The centre added: “I’m expecting some tries from my mate Laney! He’s explosive, he’s quick and he belongs in the Test arena. It’s just a matter of putting it out there.
“He’s raring to go and always brings energy every day. He’s a good man and I’m looking forward to him ripping up.
“He’s been through quite a few injuries and probably would’ve had a few more Tests under his belt but was unfortunate.
“It’s good to see him back. He’s got a big future, he’s still quite young and he’s grinding away every day.
“It was awesome to see Ben out there last week. It’s always good to see boys you’ve worked with for years getting rewarded with that.
“He’s a talented kid, he’s always putting his head down to step up to the plate and he’s got a big future.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what he does.”