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Wales star breaks silence on Crusaders move

SPOTLIGHT: Welsh star Leigh Halfpenny said he relished the chance to play for the Crusaders as the defending Super Rugby champions confirmed that he has signed a one-year deal.

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The fullback will run out for the Christchurch-based side when the 2024 season starts in February.

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“I’ve always watched Super Rugby and the Crusaders are the team I’ve followed,” Halfpenny said in a statement.

“I’m extremely grateful to have the opportunity to join one of the best teams in the world and I can’t wait to meet everyone.

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“[Head coach] Rob Penney and his team couldn’t have been any more welcoming and I feel hugely honoured to be joining them.

“I’ve always loved the time I’ve spent in New Zealand on tour. It’s a passionate rugby nation and I’ve always been made to feel very much at home there. My family and I are very excited about the move.”

Halfpenny retired from international rugby after making his final appearance last Saturday when he kicked 10 points in a win over the Barbarians in Cardiff.

He appeared in 103 Tests for Wales, scoring 821 points, since his 2008 debut.

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Halfpenny brings a wealth of experience having also played four Tests for the British and Irish Lions.

He will join All Black backs Will Jordan and Sevu Reece in a Crusaders side chasing an eighth straight Super Rugby title with new head coach Rob Penney in charge, replacing All Blacks-bound Scott Robertson.

Penney said signing Halfpenny was “a massive coup”.

“Leigh’s a footballer with a huge amount of experience, charisma and skill,” Penney added.

“We had our feelers out for a while. Leigh was finishing up his time with Wales and still had a big desire to play at the highest level, so it’s a great fit for us.

“Leigh adds even more maturity to our backline, while also bringing in some Northern Hemisphere perspective, so yeah, we’re excited about what he’ll bring into camp.”

Additional source: AFP

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