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More to come from Halaholo

First Team News | 27th May 2021

Willis Halaholo insists there’s more to come as he looks to cap off a whirlwind season on a high.

The centre bounced back from a significant knee injury to earn his place in Wayne Pivac’s Wales squad for the 2021 Six Nations.

After impressing on his debut against Scotland, the former Hurricanes star went on to win a further three caps as Wales stormed to a fourth Six Nations title in nine years.

However, Halaholo refuses to rest on his laurels. With sights set on further international honours during the summer Tests against Tonga and Argentina, the centre is determined to take his game to the next level, starting with his club’s final fixtures in the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup.

“Nothing changes for me after making my debut. I’m still motivated to put my best foot forward for Cardiff,” explains the Welsh international.

“If that all goes well, I can keep getting selected for higher honours, but it’s the same old for me - just keep grinding it out.

“I was watching the boys closely when I was with Wales, and they’ve been doing good things under Dai.

“But it’s been good to come back and see a lot of younger boys getting game-time and experience. They’re really stepping up and that’s good for all of us to compete because it benefits the team.

“I feel like I’m still trying to find my feet. It’s been a crazy season, which started with three games before needing another operation.

“I played in two derbies, got called into camp with Wales and now I’m back here for the Rainbow Cup.

“We’ve experimented a bit with a lot of the young boys getting game-time, but now hopefully I can get a few more minutes this week and next week and see from there.

“It was good to get a taste of what life is like up there in the Wales squad, and that’s only driven me more to work on what I need to work on and hopefully I can get a bit more game-time.

“But for now it’s about doing my part for Cardiff Blues.”

Last time out, Halaholo made a rare outing at outside centre, linking up with playmakers Jarrod Evans and Ben Thomas in midfield as Dai Young’s side claimed a bonus point away win over Scarlets.

The director of rugby has kept faith with the trio for Friday’s trip to Limerick, and Halaholo is confident he’ll benefit from the dual-playmaking Evans-Thomas axis.

“It’s great to play with Jarrod. He’s at the forefront of the type of game we want to play, with a fair bit of attacking rugby, and something a lot of supporters want to watch,” added the centre.

“He’s always wanting to get better and is becoming a real leader, not only within the backline but in the whole team environment.

“We just follow the main man there, and run off him when he makes those breaks himself.

“It was good to get Ben in there last time out too, and having those two playing together because they’re quality.

“They’ve not only got the silky skills, but they also carry the ball into contact with a real fight.

“Hopefully I can run off them again and be in a bit more space myself.

“Ben is going really good. He’s a silky player and will be something special once he gets into the international environment, which I have no doubt that he will. He’s a good boy.”

On Friday Cardiff Blues will be on the hunt for a first win away in Munster since 2016 - and a first ever in Limerick. However, Halaholo and his team-mates have consistently produced entertaining and competitive affairs against the Irish province.

The centre crossed the whitewash in the 38-27 thriller at Thomond Park earlier this season, while one of his finest performances for Cardiff came against Munster at Cardiff Arms Park in 2018.

Halaholo is relishing the challenge in Ireland but insists his side must win the physicality and discipline battle in Limerick.

The Welsh international said: "We’re taking a lot from the last two games. They’re the type of games we’d have lost in the past, but we knuckled down and won those when it came down to it.

"So now it’s about putting complete performances together for the 80 minutes and it’s a real goal of ours to end the season on a high.

"It’s going to be tough on Friday, and we know it’s going to be tough. 

"They’ve had a couple of losses at home already but it’s always an exciting, high-scoring game when we go there. 

"But hopefully we can put in a complete performance and show what we can do leading into next season. I’m looking forward to it.

"If we can take care of our discipline early on and not give them easy outs, hopefully we can stay on top of them.

"We need to match their physicality up front, and when we beat them at home a couple of years ago we were probably better than them in that area.

"If we take care of those two things then we should be in a good place.

"The boys like to step up against them, and when our backs turn it on, we turn it on.

"They’re one of those teams that we like to turn it on against and hopefully we can do that again on Friday."