Blues "extremely keen" on Halfpenny
Cardiff Blues say they would be "extremely keen" on Wales star Leigh Halfpenny possibly rejoining them after a cloud was cast over his future at European champions Toulon by the French club's controversial president.
Mourad Boudjellal has claimed in a French newspaper that terminating Halfpenny's existing two-year contract cannot be discounted due to ongoing injury problems.
Halfpenny moved to Toulon from the Blues this summer on a lucrative deal. It was formally announced in January.
He suffered a dislocated shoulder during Wales' RBS 6 Nations defeat against England at Twickenham in March and underwent surgery ahead of an anticipated four month lay-off.
But the 25-year-old goalkicking full-back, who was British and Irish Lions player of the series against Australia last year, is now struggling with a groin injury. He has yet to play for Toulon, and Boudjellal is rapidly losing patience.
The often outspoken Boudjellal told French publication Varmatin there is a thought that 52 times-capped Halfpenny might have been injured when he signed for Toulon.
Should Boudjellal decide to ditch Halfpenny, it would raise 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.
A £3.3million pot has been set aside to pay players on dual contracts - 60 per cent WRU-funded 40 per cent by the four professional regions.
It is understood that the initial raft of players could run into double figures and is set to include established names like Sam Warburton, Alun-Wyn Jones, Gethin Jenkins and Taulupe Faletau.
Halfpenny is one of the hottest properties in world rugby, underlined by his current Toulon contract reportedly being worth more than £1million.
And Blues chief executive Richard Holland confirmed on Tuesday 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."
Boudjellal's reported comments, meanwhile, will do little to suggest that Halfpenny has a long-term future on the Cote d'Azur.
"Today, we must address this issue because we do need a world class goalkicker," Boudjellal is quoted as saying.
"We are awaiting the medical update.
"The problem that we have now is that we think he may have arrived at Toulon with that injury. Now we have the impression that yes, he was injured when he signed for Toulon.
"If this is the case, we haven't excluded denouncing (terminating) his contract. We are conducting an investigation."
Toulon this week announced the signing of star Argentina back Juan Martin Hernandez, who will arrive at Stade Felix Mayol in January as replacement for Australia-bound James O'Connor.
And goalkicking problems were underlined in their Top 14 home defeat against Stade Francais three days ago when a number of penalties were missed by several different kickers as Toulon came unstuck 28-24.