Wales coaches Stephen Jones, Byron Hayward and Jonathan Humphreys were on hand to see the Cardiff Blues go through one of their final training sessions before heading to Italy for their Guinness PRO14 opener against Zebre.
For Jones, in particular, the sight of Willis Halaholo looking fully fit will have been a boost ahead of the upcoming internationals. Now fully Welsh qualified, Halaholo is looking to push for a midfield spot in the national side.
The former Hurricanes star will be hoping to impress this weekend with Cardiff hoping to reach the PRO14 play-off’s for the first time in their history this season.
Willis Halaholo has become a real fan favourite at the Arms Park since his arrival in 2016, largely thanks to his dancing feet which have seen him push towards a spot in the Wales squad.
— Cardiff Rugby Life (@CardiffRugbyWeb) April 14, 2020
“Willis has got that burning desire to be in a red jersey, so he just has to work his way into it now. He’s back and he’s had a couple of weeks of full training now, so he should be ready to go,” said Cardiff head coach John Mulvilill.
“The timing was pretty poor for his injury because being acknowledged as one of the better No 12s in Welsh rugby was something that he had worked towards.”
Halaholo, 30, suffered a knee injury during the Blues’ Challenge Cup pool defeat to Leicester in November, 2019. It couldn’t have come at a worse time because he had just been called up by Wayne Pivac for the Wales squad to face Barbarians.
But while Halaholo is ready to return to action, Ellis Jenkins and Owen Lane will both miss out this weekend. Jenkins hopes to return to the senior training group later this month after fighting his way back from knee surgery following the win over the Springboks in 2018.
“The whole break has given our long term injury boys an opportunity to get back,” added Mulvihill.
“Owen Lane is close to being ready and we’re only really waiting on Ellis to get back, and he’s not far away now.
“He’s back in the building and we expect to see him back on the training pitch with the squad in the next few weeks.”