Cardiff Blues coach Wilson hopes for Halaholo boost

Willis Halaholo
Willis Halaholo signed a three-year deal with Cardiff Blues in April, 2016

Cardiff Blues head coach Danny Wilson hopes Super Rugby-winning centre Willis Halaholo's success can rub off on his side in 2016-17.

Halaholo, 26, helped New Zealand side Hurricanes lift the southern hemisphere prize in a 20-3 win over South Africa's Lions at the beginning of August.

Since Blues signed Halaholo in April, he has enhanced his reputation.

"I think we certainly signed him at the right time. His value might have gone up a little bit since," said Wilson.

The Blues boss says Halaholo compares favourably with Bundee Aki, the New Zealand-born centre who helped Connacht earn a maiden Pro12 title in 2015-16.

Another Kiwi-bred midfield player for Blues, Rey Lee-Lo, brought Halaholo to Wilson's attention, according to the coach.

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"He's a guy we actually got to know about through Rey Lee-Lo and we spent a bit of time watching him at the games and we looked at his stats in terms of metres made, defenders beaten and he was higher than Bundee Aki, funnily enough, from the previous year," Wilson told BBC Radio Wales.

"Granted, as an average, he hadn't played as much rugby so we knew there was something there.

"And I think he's slowly shown throughout that Super Rugby campaign what he's capable of, leading to playing and obviously winning a final, which for a guy who's still only 25, I think is quite an achievement.

"And he's going to arrive with us with another experience that hopefully we can feed off."

Wilson also hopes Halaholo's experience of playing outside New Zealand fly-half Beauden Barrett for Hurricanes can boost his side.

However, Blues are unsure of when Halaholo will arrive as he is expected to play for Waikato in New Zealand's second-tier provincial cup tournament, which ends in October.

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