Halfpenny: hard work continues

Leigh Halfpenny is refusing to get carried away with his own form despite forcing his way into the record books on Saturday. [more]

Halfpenny: hard work continues

Leigh Halfpenny is refusing to get carried away with his own form despite forcing his way into the record books on Saturday.

The Welsh full back contributed 30 points in the convincing win over the Waratahs to surpass Ronan O’Gara’s record for the most points scored in a British & Irish Lions fixture in Australia.

O’Gara’s 26-point haul in the 116-10 success against Western Australia in 2001 had been the previous best tally in 125 years of touring but Halfpenny eased past that mark courtesy of two tries, four conversions and four penalties in Sydney.

But rather than revel in the glory of yet another fine individual showing and another 100 per cent record from the kicking tee, Halfpenny simply insisted that there is plenty more hard work ahead if he wants to replicate his form in the three-match Test series with the Qantas Wallabies.

“For me it’s just about continuing the hard work. I’m pleased, but the hard work doesn’t stop here,” said Halfpenny, who has now been successful with 22 of his 23 kicks on tour in what he believes is his most successful run on the big stage.

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“This is obviously special but once I get back on the training pitch the hours of practice begin again. I’m pleased with the way things are going on the training field and it’s just about trying to replicate that in a match: there’s no easy kick, every kick is tough.

“Out here in the summer (with Wales) was the only one I can recall (that was similar), really. That was 15 out of 16 in the three Tests. I’m pretty pleased with it, but it’s not finished yet. There’s still business to be done and the hard work continues.”

That hard work won’t just be confined to Halfpenny’s individual efforts, either, with the 24-year-old insisting that the squad as a whole have plenty to work on in the lead up to Tuesday’s game against the Brumbies in Canberra and Saturday’s opening international in Brisbane.

Halfpenny echoed the thoughts of head coach Warren Gatland and skipper Sam Warburton in suggesting that the squad were happy with how they performed at the Allianz Stadium but were equally keen to kick on in both games next week.

“It’s about progressing each step of the way, with each game, raising that bar,” added Halfpenny. “We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, we knew it was going to be tough.

"We knew there was going to be a physical encounter coming, and in all fairness to the Waratahs they didn’t disappoint.They tested us but we fronted up to the challenge. When they tested us we managed to keep them out.

“There’s a few things we need to look at in defence and attack. There were a few opportunities that we could have taken, but we’re pretty pleased with the performance.

“You can feel each game that the boys are gelling more and more, on and off the pitch. It’s about maintaining that momentum – we’ve done that and we’ll kick on to the next game.”

The only downside in a 47-17 victory for The Lions came in the form of a leg injury to inside centre Jamie Roberts, with Halfpenny’s Blues colleague set for a scan some time tomorrow.

But while Gatland and co will hope that Roberts receives positive news about his involvement in the rest of the tour, fellow centre Jon Davies did his chances of Test involvement no harm at all with a stunning showing that had Halfpenny signing his countryman’s praises.

“We’re blessed with the centres we’ve got – they’re superb players. Jon is an outstanding player and he ran some great lines.

“He creates a lot, works hard and he’s a great player in defence and attack. He’s up there with the best I believe, and he had a great game.”

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