Halfpenny welcomes pressure

Wales full-back eager to be named first choice kicker

Last Updated: 11/02/12 2:03pm

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Leigh Halfpenny: Took over kicking duties from Rhys Priestland against Ireland

Leigh Halfpenny: Took over kicking duties from Rhys Priestland against Ireland

Sky Bet

Leigh Halfpenny insists he will relish taking on Wales' goalkicking duties should he be given the responsibility against Scotland on Sunday.

The Cardiff Blues full-back nailed an 80th-minute penalty to give Wales a 23-21 victory over Ireland last weekend and prevent the World Cup semi-finalists from sustaining a major early blow in their RBS Six Nations campaign.

Halfpenny took over the kicking duties from fly-half Rhys Priestland, who twice hit the post from close range and was eventually replaced as first choice marksman.

It is still unknown if Priestland will reclaim the role tomorrow or whether Wales will decide to go with Halfpenny, whose eight-point contribution in Dublin proved decisive.

"No matter how much I tried to think it was just a normal kick, my heart was racing like mad," Halfpenny said of his match-winning kick against Ireland.

"But I just tried to go through the same routine I do with every kick and put myself back in Gorseinon, where I practise.

"If I am given the opportunity to kick, I would love to. I wouldn't want anything more, really"
Leigh Halfpenny Quotes of the week

Chuffed

"When I looked up to see it going through the sticks I was chuffed to bits. You can be the hero or the zero as the kicker.

"But that is why I love the job, and last Sunday is what makes all the hard work worthwhile. The feeling after that kick was one of the best I've ever had."

Halfpenny had previously been utilised as a long-range kicking specialist but now does the job regularly for the Blues and it would be no surprise to see the 23-year-old given the nod ahead of Priestland this weekend.

He added: "I am not sure at the moment. I haven't had any news yet. I haven't spoken to anyone about it and I haven't been told anything.

"If Rhys is given the kicking, he has got my 100% backing and support. It's all down to the team effort at the end of the day.

"But if I am given the opportunity to kick, I would love to. I wouldn't want anything more, really."

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