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Pivac gets early Wales boost

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Pivac's 2020 Wales vision boosted by extension that qualifies Super Rugby winner under residency

Wayne Pivac’s imminent Wales takeover has been boosted by the prospect of Tongan underage star Willis Halaholo qualifying under residency after pledging his future to Cardiff.

Wales will open their Six Nations title defence next February at home to Italy, a match that will be Pivac’s first outing in charge after he he takes over from Warren Gatland at the end of the World Cup. 

The 28-year-old Halaholo, who grew up in Auckland and represented Tonga in his youth, has used his electric footwork to form a formidable partnership with former Hurricanes teammate Rey Lee-Lo in Cardiff.

He made a try-scoring debut against Benetton in 2016 and has gone on to make 57 appearances in total, scoring 13 tries and becoming a crowd favourite since arriving. The former Super Rugby winner said: “I’m really happy to sign a new contract at Cardiff. The welcome I have received since I arrived here has been awesome and my family absolutely love it.

“This has definitely become our home and I’m really excited about what the future holds for Cardiff. We showed our potential last season by winning the European Challenge Cup and with so many exciting young players we can continue building and improving.

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“We have a massive few weeks coming up and it would be an awesome achievement to make the Guinness PRO14 play-offs. That is my sole focus right now but looking further ahead we have a massive amount of potential and I want to be part of that.”

Cardiff boss John Mulvihill was delighted to retain the hot-stepping centre’s services. “Willis is such an exciting player, who has shown what he is capable of with big moments in big matches.

“He qualifies for Wales in the autumn and is looking forward to a massive off-season to take himself to the next level and put himself in the frame for selection.

“He has become a really important member of the group and compliments the young players coming through our system and thrives upon that competition.

“Both Willis and his family are very happy and settled in Cardiff and we are delighted that he has decided to remain at the Arms Park.”

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Pivac's 2020 Wales vision boosted by extension that qualifies Super Rugby winner under residency