Halfpenny’s passion for Lions

Leigh Halfpenny's last experience with the British & Irish Lions ended in heartbreak but that has only intensified his determination to tour again. [more]

Halfpenny’s passion for Lions

Leigh Halfpenny’s last experience with the British & Irish Lions ended in heartbreak but that has only intensified his determination to tour again.

The Wales full-back was selected for the tour of South Africa four years ago but his trip to the Rainbow Nation was delayed by a thigh injury and it returned to end his trip.
Halfpenny has gone on to establish himself as one of the world’s finest full-backs and deadliest goal-kickers. His unrivalled form in the Six Nations saw him named 2013 Player of the Championship.
He is widely seen as a shoo-in to earn selection into Warren Gatland’s squad on and echoed one of Sir Ian McGeehan’s famous speeches when explaining what playing for Wales and hopefully the Lions means to him.
“Playing for Wales is just incredible – it’s everything about you, your family, friends. You are representing that,” Halfpenny told the Daily Express.

“Playing for the Lions is the pinnacle of your international career but playing for Wales – it makes me just as proud pulling on that jersey.

“It is the greatest honour, equal with the Lions.”

Halfpenny has had is fair share of clashes with Australia. He has faced them seven times and tasted defeat on every single occasion.

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But after being part of a Wales side that drew an eight-match losing streak to a halt to win the Six Nations he certainly has the mental toughness required.

“We weren’t playing badly, we just weren’t getting the results,” said Halfpenny.

“We’d had a bad run of games. We felt we hadn’t played too badly on the summer tour in Australia, we felt we could have won two out of the three Tests and the games against Argentina and Samoa in the autumn.

“But we didn’t achieve what we set out to achieve or what we expected of ourselves.

“The second half against Ireland was encouraging but we had chances we didn’t take and we could have won it if we had.

“But after that, the character we showed to bounce back, to go to France and get the win in the style we did, was a massive achievement.

“We needed that win to give us the confidence to go out and play. It was a huge boost – there were smiles on faces, we were enjoying it again.

“We had difficult conditions in Italy, pounding down with rain, but we changed and played to the conditions with the kicking game, not too high-risk. The same against Scotland.

“And then against England, those were the conditions we had been waiting for – dry pitch, no wind – and it all came together. What a day that was, an incredible day to be involved in.”

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