Six Nations: Wales back Leigh Halfpenny ready for Ireland test

Last Updated: 28/01/13 9:59pm

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Leigh Halfpenny: Wales full-back back in action in Cardiff

Leigh Halfpenny: Wales full-back back in action in Cardiff

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Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny is looking forward to making his Millennium Stadium return in Saturday's Six Nations opener against Ireland.

The Cardiff Blues star was carried off on his last appearance at the venue on 1 December after suffering a neck injury when attempting to prevent Kurtley Beale's match-winning try for Australia.

"It was pretty worrying at the time," said Halfpenny, who was taken to University Hospital Wales for scans.

"I had a dead arm for half-an-hour and I was not sure what sort of damage had been done, so the scans were pretty good news because they showed no nerves had been damaged.

"I was conscious the whole time, but not sure what had happened. I was aware of a numbness in my arm and it was frightening.

"I had a few weeks off and missed games I wanted to play in, but I have played a few games this month and it has been good."

Halfpenny, who is poised to win his 40th cap this weekend, will be up against Ireland full-back Rob Kearney, a rival for the Lions Test No 15 shirt in June.

"It is Wales against Ireland and if I am picked to play it is about doing a job for your country and the jersey justice, giving it everything it deserves. That is all I am worried about," he added.

"You want to gain the upper hand on your opponent to make sure you are contributing to the team - it is not about individuals, but the team."

Halfpenny continued: "The first game in the Six Nations is always important because of the confidence a win brings, as we showed in Dublin last year. The focus is on getting a good start.

"We are determined to put things right after the autumn and prove people wrong. From day one in training we have been working hard to make sure we are fully prepared, with no stone left unturned to make sure we get it right on Saturday.

"We are the (Six Nations) champions. That brings pressure, but we showed last year, off the back of the World Cup, that we could cope with pressure and expectation. We dealt with it and won the Grand Slam.

"The squad is still really young but hugely experienced and it is about taking things to the next level and stepping it up.

"We did not show what we were capable of in the autumn until the second half against New Zealand. We were back to the team we were in the (2012) Six Nations and we can take huge confidence from that and the Australia game, when we took them to the wire and were disappointed to lose."

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