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Toulon would release Leigh Halfpenny for next year's Lions tour of New Zealand

Published 01/09/2016

Leigh Halfpenny has said he will be available for next summer's British and Irish Lions tour, if selected
Leigh Halfpenny has said he will be available for next summer's British and Irish Lions tour, if selected

Wales star Leigh Halfpenny has confirmed his availability for next summer's British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand.

It had been unclear whether Halfpenny's club Toulon would release him for the 10-game trip, as part of it clashes with the French domestic Top 14 competition's latter stages.

But 27-year-old Halfpenny, who shone for the Lions during their Test series-winning tour of Australia three years ago, has confirmed that he will be allowed on Lions business if he is selected.

"We have an agreement with (Toulon president) Mourad Boudjellal," Halfpenny said, in comments reported by www.lequipe.fr.

"When I extended for this season, it was expected that I be released if I was selected for the British Lions tour.

"It falls right during the finals of the Top 14, and if I am selected, I will miss the end of the season. The staff and the president told me that having a player selected with the Lions would be an honour for the club.

"All this is still in a long time. To be with the Lions, you have to be good at your club. I have come back from a big injury, and for now, I am focused on being good with Toulon."

Halfpenny was named man of the series when the Lions triumphed in Australia, but he has endured an injury-hit last 12 months, with a serious knee injury ruling him out of the 2015 World Cup and last season's Six Nations. He returned to action for Toulon in June.

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