Halfpenny wins Six Nations award
Published 22/03/2013 | 16:36
Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny has won this season's RBS 6 Nations Player of the Championship award.
Halfpenny, who scored 74 points in the competition as Wales successfully defended the title, was a clear winner.
He gained 40 per cent of the public vote, putting him well clear of runner-up, Italy flanker Alessandro Zanni, with Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg third, competition organisers announced.
More than 80,000 people voted after a 15-player shortlist was compiled through a mixture of technical statistics and supporter opinion on social media sites.
Cardiff Blues star Halfpenny is a firm favourite to be the British and Irish Lions full-back against Australia this summer.
And he now follows his Wales colleague Dan Lydiate, who took the top Six Nations individual award last season.
"I can't thank the people who voted for me enough," Halfpenny, 24, said. "It's a real honour and privilege, and I am overwhelmed to be in among the players shortlisted.
"It's the icing on the cake of an exceptional year for Wales, and it is a privilege to be part of such an exceptional group of people.
"For my name to be added to the list of players who have won this award in the past is incredible and extremely humbling."
Wales' interim head coach Rob Howley paid a glowing tribute to Halfpenny, adding: "Leigh is fearless, courageous and is one of the best full-backs in world rugby. He can be very proud of his performances throughout the championship."