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Halfpennys Toulon contract under threat


Leigh Halfpenny’s Toulon contract could be under threat because president Mourad Boudjellal thinks the Wales full-back arrived at the Top 14 club with an undisclosed injury.

Halfpenny, who was elected Player of the Tournament in the 2013 Six Nations and Man of the Series in the British and Irish Lions’ triumphant tour of Australia later that year, was one of Boudjellal’s high-profile signings for this campaign.

The 25-year-old underwent surgery on a dislocated right shoulder sustained against England during the Six Nations in March, meaning a delayed start to pre-season training.

But Boudjellal says he now believes the goalkicker arrived at the Top 14 titleholders and reigning two-time European champions with another injury, to his groin. It means Halfpenny is yet to start for the team.

“We need to sort this problem out because we need an international standard kicker,” Boudjellal told Varmatin newspaper, just a day after signing 32-year-old Argentinian back Juan Martin Hernandez and in the wake of a loss to Stade Francais during which a variety of Toulon players missed 20 kickable points.

“We’re awaiting the medical update…But the problem is that we now think that he might have arrived in Toulon with this groin injury.

“We have the impression that yes, he was injured when he signed for Toulon.

“If that’s the case, we have not ruled out breaking his contract.

“I pay enough players for their international call-ups. I do not want to get Halfpenny ready for Wales for the World Cup.

“We’re conducting an investigation.”

Rumours of Halfpenny’s potential split with Toulon raised the possibility of him returning to Wales on a dual contract partly-funded by the Welsh Rugby Union, although he is also likely to attract a worldwide scramble for his services.

And Richard Holland, chief executive of Halfpenny’s former club Cardiff Blues, confirmed the region’s interest in him should he become available.

“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,” Holland told Wales Online.

“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.

“If the reports are true, we are keen to explore this.”


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