Stephen Leigh HALFPENNY
Wales Caps: 44 (21-0-23)
Wales Points: 294 (12t 18c 66p)
Wales Debut: Test Debut: v South Africa 2008
British & Irish Lions: 2009 (SA) 1-1-0-0
Lions Debut: 06/06/09 v Cheetahs
Test Record v Australia: 7 (0-0-7) - 61pts (1t 4c 16p)
Leigh Halfpenny won the RBS 6 Nations Player of the Tournament title with 40% of the votes after steering Wales to a successful defence of their title. The full back scored 74 points to end the competition as the leading scorer for the second season in a row. He won the Man of the match awards during Wales’ victories in Paris and Rome and now has 294 points in 43 appearances for his country.
He launched his career at Gorseinon RFC, along with Ospreys and Wales outside half Dan Biggar, and became their first British & Irish Lion since Lewis Jones in 1950 when he was selected for the 2009 tour to South Africa. Injuries blighted his trip as he arrived late and left early, making only one appearance against the Cheetahs.
Having been discarded by the Ospreys, he moved to join the Cardiff Blues Academy and quickly established himself in their side. He played for Wales in the Under 19 and Under 20 Junior World Cups, playing under Sam Warburton’s leadership, and won his first senior cap as a wing against South Africa in November, 2008.
His first 20 appearances for Wales were all on the wing before he took over as full back when he came on as a replacement against Samoa in Hamilton in the 2011 Rugby World Cup. He reverted back to the wing for the wins over Namibia and Fiji before starting at full back for the first time for Wales in the World Cup quarter-final against Ireland. Since then he has started 21 of the last 22 Welsh internationals in the No 15 jersey, missing only the Barbarians game last summer.
He was Man of the Match in the narrow defeat to Australia at the Millennium Stadium in the Autumn, a game in which he was carried off on a stretcher after tackling Dave Dennis head on. He has scored 58 points in six games against the Wallabies since October, 2011.