British and Irish Lions: Leigh Halfpenny determined to help make 2013 tour a success

Last Updated: 15/05/13 6:29am

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Leigh Halfpenny: Favourite to wear the no 15 shirt during the Test series against Australia

Leigh Halfpenny: Favourite to wear the no 15 shirt during the Test series against Australia

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Leigh Halfpenny hopes to make more of an impression on his second tour with the British and Irish Lions after injury cut short his stay in South Africa four years ago.

The Wales full-back joined the 2009 squad late while he continued his recovery from a thigh problem but was soon returning home after making just one appearance, against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

"What is hugely important as a Lions squad is to get things right off the pitch to make sure we are successful on the pitch. It is about getting to know each other and all coming together as one."
Leigh Halfpenny

The 24-year-old, who admits the experience taught him to listen to his body, now intends to make sure the Lions get it right on and off the pitch in Australia this summer.

"It was hugely disappointing," said the reigning RBS Six Nations player of the tournament. "I was part of a Lions squad and having the time of my life playing with a hugely-talented group, and I was gutted to be leaving.

"I was 20 years of age away with the Lions, and I would have stayed on that training pitch every hour of the day, but I learnt that I should listen to my body.

"I am a lot more experienced now, and I think the more chances I've had to play the more I've learnt and had time to work on areas I have wanted to be better at.

"For me, it is just about working hard every single day and making the most out of every time I step on the training pitch.

"What is hugely important as a Lions squad is to get things right off the pitch to make sure we are successful on the pitch. It is about getting to know each other and all coming together as one."

Competition

Halfpenny's performances for his country have made him the outstanding favourite to wear the No 15 jersey in the three-Test series, though the Cardiff Blue acknowledges fellow full-backs Rob Kearney and Stuart Hogg will provide stiff competition for the starting berth.

"I would wear the number one jersey if it meant I could play for the Lions," Halfpenny said. "The competition for the 15 jersey is huge - Stuart Hogg and Rob Kearney are both fantastic players.

"Competition brings the best out of players, and that can only be good for us as players and for the Lions.

"With regards to the wing, I've played out there and I am happy to play there. I have said before I would rather play 15, but if I am required to do a job for the Lions on the wing I would be more than happy to do that."

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