Cardiff Blues are expecting a tough summer ahead as they attempt to keep hold of star asset Leigh Halfpenny, according to Blues chief executive Richard Holland.

Halfpenny's brilliance in the British & Irish Lions tour historic success against Australia earlier this month saw the Welshman become the player of the series as he kicked Warren Gatland's side to a 2-1 victory against the Wallabies.

The 24-year old recorded 49-points during the three match series against the home side, and Holland believes the fullback's performances make him a clear contender for next years IRB Player of the Year.

"Halfpenny must be the only candidate for the IRB's World Player of the Year," he said.

Holland fears that the performances from his number 15 will attract the attention of the lucrative French Top 14 elite, a league which has lured Halfpenny's Welsh and Lions teammates Jamie Roberts and Dan Lydiate to join next season.

It's not just the Top 14 that are ousting the Welsh franchises - the Aviva Premiership is also poaching Wales' best talent.

Another star of the Lions tour of Australia, George North is leaving the Scarlets to join Northampton Saints.

Holland told the Independent: "Whether or not Leigh will stay I don't know but he's a Welsh lad and we're hoping he will commit to the Blues.

"We have already had discussions and we will be working hard with Leigh to lock him into the Blues for the foreseeable future.

"We are extremely proud of the achievements of all our Lions. Leigh must be the only candidate for the IRB's World Player of the Year after destroying Australia.

"Now we are going to do everything in our power to secure his services. We're trying to put together, within our means, a package which will enable Leigh to stay at the Arms Park and in Welsh rugby."


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