Leigh Halfpenny

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Leigh Halfpenny
Leigh Halfpenny. cropped.jpg
Birth nameStephen Leigh Halfpenny
Date of birth (1988-12-22) 22 December 1988 (age 33)
Place of birthGorseinon, Swansea, Wales
Height1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Weight85 kg (187 lb; 13 st 5 lb)
Rugby union career
Position(s) Fullback
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
2006 Neath 2 (0)
2007–2008 Cardiff RFC 21 (184)
2008–2014 Cardiff Blues 87 (568)
2014–2017 Toulon 40 (544)
2017– Scarlets 47 (448)
Correct as of 25 April 2021
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
Wales U16
Wales U18
2007 Wales U19 5 (57)
2008 Wales U20 9 (90)
2008– Wales 96 (778)
2009, 2013, 2017 British & Irish Lions 4 (49)
Correct as of 21:02, 13 February 2021 (UTC)

Stephen Leigh Halfpenny (born 22 December 1988) is a Welsh rugby union player who plays as a fullback or wing for the Scarlets, Wales and the British & Irish Lions. Halfpenny is the third highest points scorer for Wales after Neil Jenkins and Stephen Jones.

Early life

Halfpenny is from Gorseinon, in Swansea. He attended Pontybrenin Primary School and Penyrheol Comprehensive School.[1][2]

Early career

A winger or fullback, he was signed as a youth by the Ospreys and played the 2005–06 season with the Ospreys U18s. Halfpenny then trained with Neath RFC during the 2006–07 season,[3] before signing for the Cardiff Blues and spending the whole 2007–08 season playing for feeder club Cardiff RFC, before making his regional debut against Ulster at the Ravenhill Stadium in May 2008, scoring three conversions in the 17–26 victory.[4]

Club career

On 18 April 2009, Halfpenny scored two tries for the Cardiff Blues in the final of the EDF Energy Cup, a 50–12 win over Gloucester at Twickenham.[5] In January 2014 Halfpenny announced that he would be leaving the Blues at the end of the 2013–14 season after signing a two-year deal with French giants Toulon.

He did not complete the 2013–14 season due to receiving a dislocated shoulder in the RBS Six Nations match against England. Thus his final match with the Blues was against Exeter Chiefs on 18 January, where the Blues lost 13–19. Halfpenny contributed a conversion and two penalties to the game.[6]

On 16 September 2014, Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal said that he may terminate Halfpenny's contract due to reoccurring injury problems, though this was later resolved.[7] Halfpenny finally made his Toulon debut on 12 October 2014, two months after the start of the Top 14 season.[8]

On 2 May 2015, Halfpenny scored 14 points in the 2015 European Rugby Champions Cup Final as Toulon beat Clermont to claim record third successive European title.[9]

On 3 August 2017, Halfpenny returned home to Wales to sign for regional team Scarlets on a three-year contract, which is a National Dual Contract with the Welsh Rugby Union, from the 2017–18 season.[10]

International career



As a former Wales Under 20 international, he was selected in October 2008 for the Wales national rugby union team squad for the 2008 Autumn internationals series.[11] Halfpenny made his debut for Wales aged 19 in their first game of the autumn internationals against world champions, South Africa on 8 November 2008. He scored his first points for Wales from a penalty kick in the 15–20 loss. He went on to score his first two tries on his second cap against Canada on 14 November.

He was chosen as a starting number 14 for Wales's 2009 Six Nations game against Scotland, on 8 February, and again on 14 February, against rivals England. He scored a try in each match and kicked a penalty against England to add to that. His points proved to be the difference between the two teams. He then played against France in a match that Wales lost 21–16 in Saint-Denis. Warren Gatland then dropped Halfpenny for the 20–15 win over Italy, as Warren Gatland experimented with winger Mark Jones.

Halfpenny was a key part of the Wales squad for the following two campaigns but he was constantly plagued by injury.[citation needed] Coach Warren Gatland had faith in Halfpenny, and the Blues winger did enough to force his way into the squad for the 2011 World Cup. During the World Cup, Halfpenny impressed in many positions, particularly at fullback. It was also in this game that Halfpenny became first choice kicker, ahead of fly-halves Rhys Priestland and James Hook. In the semi-final against France, Halfpenny attempted a 47-yard penalty that would have taken Wales to the final. However, the kick fell just short.


During the 2012 Six Nations, Halfpenny cemented his place at fullback and became one of the standout players of the tournament, finishing as top point scorer of the tournament. Some of his points came at crucial points within the tournament. Down 21–20 to Ireland in the 80th minutes, Halfpenny sent a penalty over to give Wales a 23–21 win over the hosts, and subsequently completed another four penalties and a conversion as Wales toppled England. Then, in the final match against France, Wales got a 16–9 win, with Halfpenny converting three further penalties and a conversion. In the final match of the 2012 Winter Test series against Australia, Halfpenny suffered a neck injury while attempting to stop the winning try. He was taken to hospital but was discharged the next day without any serious damage.[12] Halfpenny was named man of the match.

In the first match of the 2013 Six Nations Championship, Halfpenny scored the 2nd try for Wales in their 30–22 loss to Ireland at the Millennium Stadium. The following week he earned the man of the match award when Wales beat France 16–6 in Paris. Again two weeks later in Rome when Wales beat Italy 26–9, he was made Man of the Match by the Italian broadcaster. With over 80,000 people voting between 15 shortlisted 2013 Six Nations players, Halfpenny was also named player of the tournament, securing 40% of the overall vote.[13] In November 2013 Halfpenny was named in a shortlist of five players for the IRB Player of the Year.[14] In December 2013 Halfpenny was selected as BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year[15] and was runner-up for BBC Sports Personality of the Year to Andy Murray.

In March 2014, Halfpenny was ruled out for the rest of the season after he dislocated his right shoulder in the 29–18 defeat to England in the 2014 Six Nations Championship.[16] In October 2014, Halfpenny was included in the 34-man squad for the 2014 Autumn internationals against Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and South Africa.[17] He scored 27 points during the Autumn series including all 12 of Wales's points in a famous win over South Africa, only the second in their history.[18]

In September 2015 he was ruled out of the Rugby World Cup after rupturing an anterior cruciate knee ligament during Wales' 23–19 warm up win over Italy at the Millennium Stadium.[19]

In 2021, in a Wales match against Canada, he earned his 96th cap for Wales and, with four Lions caps, his 100th international cap, but a knee injury in the first minute put him out of the game.[20]


Halfpenny was included in the British & Irish Lions squad for their 2009 tour to South Africa.[21] He missed the start of the Lions tour due to a thigh injury requiring treatment, but once fit he rejoined Ian McGeechan's Lions squad in South Africa on 2 June.[22][23] He played in the tour match against Free State Cheetahs on 6 June.[24] However, Halfpenny then withdrew from the Lions squad due to a recurrence of the thigh injury.[25]

Halfpenny was selected for the 2013 British & Irish Lions tour to Australia as one of three fullbacks touring along with Stuart Hogg and Rob Kearney.[26] Halfpenny played all three tests, winning player of the series, and breaking the Lions points record held by Neil Jenkins. He also broke the Lions record for most points in one test.[27]

International tries


Try Opponent Location Venue Competition Date Result
1  Canada Cardiff, Wales Millennium Stadium 2008 Autumn Internationals 14 November 2008 Win
2  Scotland Edinburgh, Scotland Murrayfield 2009 Six Nations 8 February 2009 Win
3  England Cardiff, Wales Millennium Stadium 2009 Six Nations 14 February 2009 Win
4  Samoa Cardiff, Wales Millennium Stadium 2009 Autumn Internationals 13 November 2009 Win
5  Scotland Cardiff, Wales Millennium Stadium 2010 Six Nations 13 February 2010 Win
6  France Cardiff, Wales Millennium Stadium 2010 Six Nations 26 February 2010 Loss
7  Fiji Hamilton, New Zealand Waikato Stadium 2011 Rugby World Cup 2 October 2011 Win
8  Australia Auckland, New Zealand Eden Park 2011 Rugby World Cup 21 October 2011 Loss
9  Scotland Cardiff, Wales Millennium Stadium 2012 Six Nations 12 February 2012 Win
11  Ireland Cardiff, Wales Millennium Stadium 2013 Six Nations 2 February 2013 Loss
12  Scotland Cardiff, Wales Millennium Stadium 2018 Six Nations 3 February 2018 Win
14  France Paris, France Stade de France 2020 Autumn Internationals 24 October 2020 Loss

Professional points record

As of 15 March 2015
Team Caps Tries Conv­ersions Penalties Drop Goals Total Points
Toulon 10 1 21 24 1 119
Cardiff Blues 87 21 41 127 0 568
Wales 59 12 34 116 0 476
British & Irish Lions (test matches) 4 0 5 13 0 49
British & Irish Lions (tour matches) 4 3 16 6 0 65
Total 163 37 112 267 1 1210


  1. ^ Walsh, David (3 May 2009). "Leigh Halfpenny: Lion's cub". The Times. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  2. ^ Jones, Paul (26 April 2009). "Back to school for our Leigh; Halfpenny is local hero". Sunday Mirror. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  3. ^ "Leigh Halfpenny". Welsh Rugby Union. Archived from the original on 22 October 2008. Retrieved 4 November 2008.
  4. ^ "Leigh Halfpenny". Cardiff Blues. Archived from the original on 7 December 2008. Retrieved 4 November 2008.
  5. ^ Standley, James (18 April 2009). "2009 EDF Energy Cup final". BBC Sport. Retrieved 21 May 2009.
  6. ^ "2014 Cardiff Blues 13 Exeter Chiefs 19". Cardiff Blues. 18 January 2014. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  7. ^ "Toulon: Leigh Halfpenny's future 'resolved' after peace talks". BBC Sport. 20 September 2014.
  8. ^ "Leigh Halfpenny makes long-delayed Toulon debut". BBC Sport. 12 October 2014.
  9. ^ "European Rugby Champions Cup final: Toulon secure hat-trick". BBC Sport. 2 May 2015.
  10. ^ "Scarlets confirm signing of Wales and Lions star Leigh Halfpenny from Toulon". Wales Online. 3 August 2017. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  11. ^ "Cooper gets Wales nod over Peel". BBC Sport. 4 November 2009. Retrieved 4 November 2008.
  12. ^ "Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny released from hospital after checks". BBC. 2 December 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  13. ^ "Six Nations 2013: Leigh Halfpenny voted player of the tournament". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  14. ^ Halfpenny shortlisted for Player of the Year award
  15. ^ "Halfpenny Welsh Sports Personality of the Year". BBC. 9 December 2013. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  16. ^ "Halfpenny out for the season with shoulder injury". BBC Sport. 9 March 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  17. ^ "Wales: No Adam Jones and James Hook in autumn squad". BBC Sport. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  18. ^ "Wales 12–6 South Africa". BBC Sport. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  19. ^ "Leigh Halfpenny: Wales full-back ruled out of Rugby World Cup". BBC sport. 7 September 2015. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  20. ^ "Leigh Halfpenny: Wales and Scarlets full-back looks set for long spell out". BBC News. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  21. ^ "Halfpenny's Lions pick 'deserved'". BBC Sport. 22 April 2009. Retrieved 21 May 2009.
  22. ^ "Halfpenny to miss start of Lions". BBC Sport. 20 May 2009. Retrieved 21 May 2009.
  23. ^ "Leigh Halfpenny joins up with British and Irish Lions". The Times. 2 June 2009. Retrieved 2 June 2009.
  24. ^ Mairs, Gavin (5 June 2009). "Lions 2009: Leigh Halfpenny to make debut against Cheetahs". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  25. ^ "BBC Sport: Halfpenny ruled out of Lions tour". BBC News. 10 June 2009. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  26. ^ Rees, Paul (30 April 2013). "Jonny Wilkinson turned down Lions chance, says Warren Gatland". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  27. ^ "Lions 2013: full-back Leigh Halfpenny admits Melbourne heartbreak spurred him on to record-breaking points haul". www.telegraph.co.uk.
  28. ^ "Rugby Union - ESPN Scrum - Statsguru - Player analysis - Leigh Halfpenny - Test matches". ESPN scrum.

External links