‘Explosive’ Wales wing Owen Lane belongs in the Test arena, says Willis Halaholo

Lane will win his third cap against Argentina.

Andrew Baldock
Friday 09 July 2021 22:00
Owen Lane
Owen Lane

Willis Halaholo says his Wales and Cardiff team-mate Owen Lane “belongs in the Test arena”.

Lane will make a first international appearance since the 2019 World Cup when Wales tackle Principality Stadium visitors Argentina on Saturday.

It is just Lane’s third cap, but he now has a golden opportunity to impress after hamstring and shoulder injuries sidelined him for most of last year.

The 23-year-old wing features in an area of intense competition from a Wales perspective, highlighted by a back-three trio of Liam Williams, Josh Adams and Louis Rees-Zammit all gaining British and Irish Lions selection for the current South Africa tour.

This weekend, it is the turn of Lane, Dragons wing Jonah Holmes who scored two tries against Canada last weekend, and Hallam Amos to step up.

“I am expecting some tries from my mate ‘Laney’, Wales centre Halaholo said.

“He is explosive, he is quick and he belongs in the Test arena. He’s raring to go, he is always bringing energy, so I am looking forward to him ripping it up.

Wales v Canada – Summer Series 2021 – Principality Stadium

“He has been through quite a few injuries now and probably would have had a few more Tests under his belt, but he has got a big future. He is still quite young.”

Auckland-born centre Halaholo, who qualifies for Wales on residency, is also in the early stages of his Test career.

But he has made his presence felt, excelling off the bench during Wales’ Guinness Six Nations title-winning campaign earlier this year and now forging a midfield partnership alongside 89-cap skipper Jonathan Davies.

“Playing with someone of that calibre always makes the job easier for me,” 31-year-old Halaholo added.

I am just trying to put my hand up and show that I can play at this level

Wales centre Willis Halaholo

“Just having that experience inside you, you just feed off that and soak it up.

“I am just trying to put my hand up and show that I can play at this level, soaking up any information and experience I get.

“Argentina will be a big test, a big step up from last week. We know they are a different beast.

“They get better and better as the game goes on, so we will try to shut that down and see how we go.”

With 10 players absent due to Lions commitments, and the likes of full-back Leigh Halfpenny out through injury, it would be a statement victory if Wales can topple an Argentina side that beat New Zealand last year and drew twice with Australia.

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac said: “Everybody has stood up really well in terms of the workload, and nobody is shying away from the hard work that is being put in front of them.

“There are learnings for everybody, and that is exactly what this series is about, so that we can then settle on a squad going forward with a view to the Rugby World Cup in 2023.

“I have been really impressed with everybody. Whether or not they get to play in a Test match, we are learning a lot just in the training sessions alone.”