Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Halfpenny felt pressure against Scotland

Leigh Halfpenny booted 23 points against Scotland

Leigh Halfpenny has admitted he had to pass "a test of character" before delivering his match-winning performance that kept alive Wales' RBS 6 Nations title hopes.

After missing three successive shots at goal, the Cardiff Blues star admitted his Murrayfield experience could easily have been remembered for all the wrong reasons before returning a 72 per cent success-rate through seven penalties and a conversion.

"As a kicker, it was probably my toughest challenge, having missed those three kicks," he said. "One or two of them I felt I hit well enough to go over and then all of a sudden the wind caught it."

He went on: "It is a test of character when you miss three like that and I will be honest, I was thinking it could go two ways. It could go really wrong or I could get myself together and go back to basics - and that's what I did."

Halfpenny was so determined to redress the balance that he had no intention of handing over what can sometimes be the loneliest job in rugby.

"I wanted the responsibility and it wasn't an option to hand over to anyone else," he added.

"It was really tough out there kicking. You would throw a bit of grass up in the air and it would go in a full circle and then land by your feet!

"The conversion of Richard Hibbard's try was huge. If I had missed that, it could have gone horribly wrong. I was really pleased with the way I struck that one.

"You've got to forget what has gone on and just focus on your next kick and try to make sure it is a positive one.

"You go back to your basics - getting a good contact and kicking through the ball, staying upright. Especially in windy conditions, it's important you get your body through the ball and keep momentum and power."

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