Uncapped centre Willis Halaholo has been drafted into Wales’ Guinness Six Nations squad alongside Cardiff Blues team-mates Lloyd Williams and James Botham for this Saturday’s clash against Scotland.
New Zealand-born Halaholo, who qualifies for Wales on residency, was called up to face the Barbarians in November 2019 but suffered a serious knee injury just after being selected and was sidelined for 11 months.
He could make the bench for the trip to Murrayfield, with wing Hallam Amos, centre Johnny Williams, scrum-half Tomos Williams and flanker Dan Lydiate all ruled out following injuries in the 21-16 win over Ireland last weekend.
𝐒𝐐𝐔𝐀𝐃 𝐔𝐏𝐃𝐀𝐓𝐄: @cardiff_blues trio James Botham, Willis Halaholo and Lloyd Williams called into Wales' #GuinnessSixNations squad: https://t.co/OPfcrcKbVo⠀𝘊𝘳𝘰𝘦𝘴𝘰 𝘮𝘢𝘸𝘳 𝘪'𝘳 𝘨𝘢𝘳𝘧𝘢𝘯 𝘪'𝘳 𝘵𝘳𝘪𝘢𝘸𝘥 🏴 pic.twitter.com/oPKk1ZG1aY
— Welsh Rugby Union 🏉 (@WelshRugbyUnion) February 10, 2021
Lydiate has been released from the squad after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury in Cardiff and Wales have said the 65-cap veteran will undergo “a number of assessments and consultations” in the next few days.
Amos and Johnny Williams are both sidelined because of head injuries, while Tomos Williams has a hamstring problem.
Scrum-half Lloyd Williams returns to contention after last featuring for Wales three times last autumn, when Botham – grandson of England cricket great Sir Ian – made his international debut, winning three caps against Georgia, England and Italy.
Elsewhere, centre Jonathan Davies is set to miss a second successive Six Nations game as he continues his recovery from ankle trouble, and wing Josh Adams remains suspended following a breach of Covid-19 protocols.
To compound Wayne Pivac’s midfield concerns, George North scratched an eye against Ireland, while Nick Tompkins is thought to have a shoulder injury.
On the plus side for Pivac, though, British and Irish Lions back Liam Williams is available again after completing a three-match ban. He was sent off during the Scarlets’ Guinness PRO14 defeat against Cardiff Blues last month.
Josh Navidi is Lydiate’s likely replacement, with Liam Williams looking set to replace Amos, Tompkins or Owen Watkin lining up in midfield and Gareth Davies taking the number nine shirt.