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From Auckland basement to Wales: Uilisi Halaholo caps remarkable rugby journey with Six Nations win on debut

A super-sub debut appearance from former Hurricane Uilisi Halaholo has helped Wales record a comeback 25-24 victory against Scotland at Murrayfield.

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The former Hurricane sparked two tries to help Wales secure a comeback win against Scotland in the Six Nations. Source: 1 NEWS

The centre sparked two tries in the second half, silencing critics who had attacked him on social media over his selection on residency grounds, and playing himself into the history books.

Wales coach Wayne Pivac lauded Halaholo's efforts and what he brought to his Six Nations side.

"He’s a talented bloke. He’s got a good head on his shoulders," Pivac said.

"He’s had a tough upbringing so he’s a very level-headed young man.

"He brings us an exciting skillset and he’s going to bring something a little bit different to our squad and that to me is exciting."

It has been quite the journey for the 30-year-old, who at one point had been living with his family in a West Auckland basement and lost his spot in the Auckland academy after falling into a heavy drinking culture.

Hawke's Bay coach Mark Ozich plucked Halaholo from Auckland club rugby, taking a chance on him when he was an assistant coach with Southland.

"[He's] just a typical young man that will do anything for you. he just needs a bit of belief and a bit of love and understanding. and the talent was always there," Ozich said.

His time in Southland led to opportunities at Waikato and the Hurricanes, where he won the 2016 Super Rugby title.

He now plays for the Cardiff Blues, and will be hoping to add to his Welsh caps in the rest of the Six Nations.

Halaholo was known as Willis in his New Zealand playing days but was listed as Uilisi on the official Welsh team sheet.