Rugby Union

Leigh Halfpenny aims to make British & Irish Lions impact

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Leigh Halfpenny is aiming to make a major impact during the British & Irish Lions’ tour of Australia this summer.

The Wales full-back was in sparkling form for his country during the Six Nations, helping the Red Dragon claim a famous championship at the expense of England.

And, having missed the majority of the 2009 tour to South Africa through injury, Halfpenny is desperate to make a major impact for the touring party Down Under.

"It was hugely disappointing. I was part of a Lions squad and having the time of my life playing with a hugely-talented group, and I was gutted to be leaving,” he told Sky Sports at a press briefing yesterday, in reference to his one appearance against the Cheetahs.

"I was 20 years of age away with the Lions, and I would have stayed on that training pitch every hour of the day, but I learnt that I should listen to my body. I am a lot more experienced now, and I think the more chances I've had to play the more I've learnt and had time to work on areas I have wanted to be better at.

"For me, it is just about working hard every single day and making the most out of every time I step on the training pitch.

"What is hugely important as a Lions squad is to get things right off the pitch to make sure we are successful on the pitch. It is about getting to know each other and all coming together as one."

Halfpenny, who won the RBS Six Nations Player of the Tournament, has also impressed for the Cardiff Blues throughout the domestic Pro 12 campaign.

However, he’s not taking his starting place in the test matches for granted, and recognises that both Rob Kearney and Stuart Hogg will be pushing him all the way to be named in the first XV at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on June 22nd.

"I would wear the number one jersey if it meant I could play for the Lions. The competition for the 15 jersey is huge - Stuart Hogg and Rob Kearney are both fantastic players,” added Halfpenny.

"Competition brings the best out of players, and that can only be good for us as players and for the Lions.

"With regards to the wing, I've played out there and I am happy to play there. I have said before I would rather play 15, but if I am required to do a job for the Lions on the wing I would be more than happy to do that."

The Lions open their tour against the Barbarians in Hong Kong before five tour matches and the first test. A clash with the Melbourne Rebels then offers something of a break before the second and third test matches in Melbourne and Sydney respectively.

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British & Irish Lions
Rugby Union
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