Cardiff Blues centre Willis Halaholo’s dreams of making his Wales debut this weekend were dashed after being ruled out with a long-term knee injury.
Halaholo suffered the injury while playing for the Blues in their European Challenge Cup match against the Leicester Tigers. The centre will undergo surgery and begin his rehab with Cardiff’s medical team.
The injury will prevent Halaholo’s first run-out for Wales in their match against the Barbarians in Cardiff on Saturday. His place in the squad is taken by Ospreys back Scott Williams.
Halaholo was born in Auckland and was part of the Hurricanes team which won their first Vodacom Super Rugby tournament in 2016, starting in the final against the Lions at the Westpac Stadium.
After finishing the 2016 season in New Zealand, Halaholo joined the Cardiff Blues on a three-year contract and qualified to play for Wales on the three-year residency rule.
He was one of five uncapped players to be included in coach Wayne Pivac’s 35-man squad for this weekend’s fixture, including fellow New Zealand-born back Johnny McNicholl.
Halaholo’s injury is the latest blow for Wales, who have already lost prop Tom Francis as well as centre Jonathan Davies and flyhalf Rhys Patchell to long-term injuries.
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