Halaholo has had a hamstring injury. PA

Wales 'really healthy' as Halaholo ticks boxes for Ireland game

The Cardiff centre is set to be available for selection for the clash in Dublin.

WALES CENTRE WILLIS Halaholo has been “ticking all the boxes” as he looks to prove his fitness for Saturday’s Six Nations opener against Ireland in Dublin.

The Cardiff centre has been dealing with a minor hamstring injury in recent weeks but now looks likely to recover and be available for selection in Wayne Pivac’s side.

The Welsh are missing a number of highly-experienced players ahead of the start of this championship, including Alun Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau, Josh Navidi, Dan Lydiate, and Leigh Halfpenny.

Also on the injury list is George North, who played in midfield for Wales during last year’s Six Nations, while fellow centre Johnny Williams – who started two of their November Tests – has been ruled out too.

Pivac does have centres Nick Tompkins, Jonathan Davies, and Owen Watkin in his Six Nations squad ahead of the Ireland clash, while wing Josh Adams has played in the number 13 shirt.

Nonetheless, Wales remain hopeful that Halaholo will be available.

“He has had a strain but thankfully, the main thing for us is that he’s ticking all the boxes and looks like he’s available for selection, which is great because we know that Willis with ball-in-hand causes teams a lot of problems,” said assistant coach Stephen Jones today.

“We’re ticking the final boxes there, which is good from our perspective.

“We’re really healthy as a group.” 

Meanwhile, back row Ross Moriarty has proven his fitness after a recent shoulder injury, meaning he can compete with Aaron Wainwright, Ellis Jenkins, Taine Basham, and uncapped pair James Ratti and Jac Morgan in that area of the team.

“It’s brilliant that Ross went back to Dragons and got some game time at the weekend,” said Jones. “He’s such a strong character, loves the physical side of the game. We know it’s going to be physical on Saturday against Ireland and Ross is excellent in our group.

“He’s healthy, came through some game time, and is available for selection.”

Second row Christ Tshiunza has also returned to training after completing a period of Covid-19 isolation.

Wales are the defending Six Nations champions but have already been written off in many quarters due to their injury issues and after an autumn series that saw them beaten by South Africa and narrowly winning against Australia.

The Welsh regions have struggled so far this season, losing all 11 of the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup games they have played, while the Ospreys are highest-placed in the United Rugby Championship in sixth position.

Of course, the regions’ poor form has not affected the Wales team in the past.

“The players we have had come in here from the regional game, they really have excelled and they realise it’s a very elite environment in here,” said Jones.

“Once they’re in here, they push the standards and all I know is we’ve got world-class players in this squad. We’ve got good youngsters and experienced players. When they come in here, they are exceptional.”

- This article was updated at 5.55pm to correct an error stating that Wales were beaten by Australia in November.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel