Welsh make 'best offer' to Halfpenny

Thu, 05 Jan 2017 17:35
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NEWS: Welsh star Leigh Halfpenny has been made the "best offer" the Welsh Rugby Union can afford in an attempt to get him home from Toulon in France, the WRU says.

The 28-year-old fullback, capped 66 times, is believed to have a lucrative new contract on the table from three-time European champions Toulon.

Halfpenny is presently seeing out the third year of his three-year contract in France, during which his 14 points helped Toulon beat French rivals Clermont to lift the 2015 European Cup, but where he has also suffered several serious injuries.

Halfpenny's wages in Wales would be 60 percent funded by the WRU and the rest by whichever Welsh region he ends up at.

"Any way you want to look at it, on the pitch he's a match-winner and he is an ambassador for Welsh rugby. He is a hell of a nice guy," WRU Chief Executive Martyn Phillips said.

"You would want him in your mix, not at a distance. He is somebody we think a lot of. We have made him the best offer we possibly can."

Phillips said Halfpenny, Player of the Series as the British and Irish Lions beat Australia two Tests to one four years ago, would have to make a decision in the next couple of weeks.  

"Obviously, we all hope he comes back [to Wales], but he is his own man and I respect his decision," said Phillips.

"I am sure there is a bit of head and heart for him to go through. It's difficult. We have all been in those positions.

"Clearly I hope he does come back, but if he doesn't, I understand that. Obviously the clock is now ticking and there is a point at which certainly Toulon would need some certainty.

"The reality is we can pick him ([or Wales] anyway, but I am sure Leigh knows that some time in the next couple of weeks he has got to make a call on it."

Agence France-Presse