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Halfpenny hails Warburton

Leigh Halfpenny has hailed the on and off-field leadership of Wales captain Sam Warburton as the flanker prepares to lead the RBS 6 Nations champions on their three-Test tour of Australia.

Warburton has suffered a series of niggling injuries since Wales' march to the World Cup semi-finals, and was limited to playing just 160 minutes of their Grand Slam campaign. But the 23-year-old has recovered from the shoulder nerve injury he suffered against France and is set to skipper Wales as they look to claim a major southern hemisphere scalp.

Halfpenny said: "Sam is massive for us, not just as a player, he leads by example. He is such a great leader."

He added: "We had a good win against Ireland in the World Cup (quarter-finals) where we could easily have gone out and celebrated but we didn't.

"It was a great win, we were through to the semi-finals and for the whole of Wales it was amazing, but we still felt we had unfinished business and we had another game.

"Sam called us together and said we would have a curfew and every single player was in by that time. No one was out after that at all and that is professionalism, not getting carried away and keeping a lid on things.

"There are examples like that where we are just professional in everything we do and Sam leads that."

For full-back Halfpenny, the tour to Australia will cap a brilliant season which started in worrying fashion.

Halfpenny, 23, faced a race against time to even make the World Cup squad after being sidelined with a foot injury, only making his return in the final warm-up game against Argentina.

Since then he has made the number 15 shirt his own, and played an integral part in the Six Nations triumph with his goal-kicking, sound positional play and heroic defence - best exemplified by his fearless Triple Crown-clinching tackle on David Strettle at Twickenham.

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