Rugby Union

Toulon considering ending Leigh Halfpenny's contract

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Leigh Halfpenny could be out of a job soon after Toulon stated they are considering terminating his contract due to injury.

The Welsh fullback only signed to the French and Heineken Cup champions in the summer from Cardiff Blues on a two-year deal.

The 25-year-old has yet to play for the Top 14 side, due to suffering from shoulder and groin problems, not having seen action since March.

World-class

Halfpenny has been a leading light in the game for the past few years, becoming one of the best players in the world.

His versatility is one of his key attributes, as he can play out on the wing or at fullback, while his goal-kicking abilities have been likened to former Toulon star Jonny Wilkinson.

Yet, the club’s president Mourad Boudjellal is still considering saying farewell to Halfpenny, telling French newspaper Varmatin they “haven’t excluded denouncing (terminating) his contract.”

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Although the Welshman has won over 50 caps for his country, a further three for the British and Irish Lions, he hasn’t played since dislocating his shoulder in the 28-19 defeat against England in the Six Nations earlier in the year.

“We are awaiting the medical update,” said Boudjellal. "The problem that we have now is that we think he may have arrived at Toulon with that injury.

“We are conducting an investigation.”

New kicker?

While they are deciding whether it is worth keeping Halfpenny at the club whilst he is injured, Toulon also need to look at who would replace Wilkinson, who retired from rugby in May, as their star with the boot.

“Today, we must address this issue because we do need a world-class goal-kicker,” Boudjellal told the French newspaper.

The Stade Mayol outfit used 31-year-old Frederic Michalak during their 28-24 defeat against Stade Francais at the weekend, but have brought in Argentine star Juan Martin Hernandez, who is considered one of the best fly-halves in the world.

Home sweet home

As for what is next for Halfpenny, he has two Welsh sides interested in him, with Ospreys and his former club Cardiff Blues keen to bring him back to his home country.

It would certainly be good news for Wales international and regional rugby, having seen several key players move abroad.

“Cardiff Blues offered Leigh Halfpenny a contract prior to his departure to Toulon and, of course, we would be interested if he became available, be that on a dual contract or a regional deal,” the Welsh capital club’s chief executive Richard Holland told BBC Sport.

“We will be speaking to his representatives to find out the state of play regarding his contract situation and we will take things from there.

“We would be extremely keen to have back a player of Leigh’s calibre and I am sure it would excite our supporters.”

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Topics:
Wales Rugby
Leigh Halfpenny
Rugby Union
Toulon

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