Willis Halaholo has described his emotional international debut which left him on the brink of tears during the signing of the national anthems.
The New Zealand-born centre made his debut for Wales against Scotland in the second round of the Six Nations, coming off the bench in the 33rd minute to help his side to a one-point victory at Murrayfield.
Halaholo, who qualifies for Wales on residency grounds having joined the Cardiff Blues in 2016, told the Scrum V podcast how much it meant to him to represent his adopted country.
𝗪𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗶𝘀 𝘆𝗻 𝘄ê𝗻 𝗼 𝗴𝗹𝘂𝘀𝘁-𝗶-𝗴𝗹𝘂𝘀𝘁! ❤️💙
— Cardiff Blues (@cardiff_blues) February 11, 2021
“I just wanted to show those people that have supported me over the last four or five years that I have been here, that when I put that jersey on, I am willing to give 100 per cent.
“I hope I did those people proud and want to thank the people for all they have done for me.”
‘It was emotional, especially during the anthem.’
The former Hurricanes player has had to wait before making his Wales debut, having qualified to play for the country since late 2019, and was almost overcome with emotion shortly before the game kicked off.
“It was emotional, especially during the anthem. My wife asked me why I looked like that during the anthem.
“I was trying to hold back the tears because I was just thinking how hard it was to get here and how I am playing for my two daughters who were born in Wales.
“This is their country and anybody who knows me knows I am all about family.
“Anybody with daughters will tell you once you start thinking about your girls you just start getting emotional. So that is all I was thinking about while the anthem was on,” Halaholo explained.
First all Glory to the man above for the gift and blessing he has given me. It’s been a big few days for me as I represent my family and my @cardiff_blues family and I take the huge honour of representing @WelshRugbyUnion for my first cap.
— Willis Halaholo (@whalaholo) February 13, 2021
Wales are now one of two teams – along with France – to still be in contention for the Grand Slam, despite being largely written off before the Six Nations kicked off.
Wayne Pivac’s side have been helped by both Ireland and Scotland having had a player sent off in their opening two fixtures, but have shown impressive attacking flair so far in the championship.
They welcome England to Cardiff in the next round and will be looking to catch their old rivals off guard, after a disappointing start to 2021 for Eddie Jones’ men.