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Wales are left waiting on Leigh Halfpenny as he ponders his future

Wales are waiting for Leigh Halfpenny to decide where his rugby future lies after Welsh Rugby Union boss Martyn Phillips revealed he had been made "the best offer we possibly can."

Halfpenny's employers - French giants Toulon - are understood to have lined up a bumper six-figure deal aimed at keeping him on the Cote d'Azur beyond a current final season of his existing three-year-contract.

But the 28-year-old full-back or wing, who has won 66 caps and starred on 2013 British and Irish Lions duty in Australia, could head back to Wales on a national dual contract funded by the WRU and whichever region - potentially his former team Cardiff Blues - he plays for.

"You would want him in your mix, not at a distance. He is somebody we think a lot of," WRU group chief executive Phillips said on Thursday.

"We have made him the best offer we possibly can.

"Obviously, we all hope he comes back (to Wales), but he is his own man, and I respect his decision. I am sure there is a bit of head and heart for him to go through. It's difficult. We have all been in those positions.

"Clearly, I hope he does come back, but if he doesn't, I understand that.

"Obviously, the clock is now ticking, and there is a point at which certainly Toulon would need some certainty.

"The reality is we can pick him (for Wales) anyway, but I am sure Leigh knows that some time in the next couple of weeks he has got to make a call on it."

Halfpenny is widely expected to be on Lions duty again this summer when Warren Gatland's squad head to New Zealand - and Wales could also end up making an appearance in world champion country against scheduled June opponents Tonga.

Samoa and Tonga are on Wales' tour programme - Robin McBryde will head up the coaching team with Gatland and Rob Howley on Lions duty - but Phillips confirmed that a contingency plan has been drawn up to meet Tonga in Auckland.

"Samoa, give or take, is fine, so we are comfortable with that," he added.

"There are still some things to iron out with Tonga, mainly around there isn't a pitch at the moment and the stadium infrastructure isn't in place.

"We are meeting with World Rugby next week. We all desperately want to go there (Tonga) and play, but the pitch is a fundamental to that. The facilities around it are nowhere near to what would be needed to host a game.

"Tonga are committing to get to that - I think the forecast is for it to be there by May - but you are getting very close to the point at which it may not be there.

"We are trying to make it happen, but you have got to get to a point where you say 'is it or isn't it going to happen'? And that needs to be pretty soon now.

"The contingency will be to play in Auckland. We have got an informal agreement with New Zealand to do that, but that would need to kick into that plan quite quickly."

One team unlikely to be in action this season will be the Wales A side, which it had been hoped would make a first appearance for 15 years, but hopes of arranging games against England Saxons and Irish Wolfhounds have not materialised.

"The issue is that it's a relatively cluttered season," Phillips said. "The window in which we can play is the last week of January right now.

"We wanted to play England and Ireland ideally, but for various reasons we haven't been able to pull that off.

"The worst-case scenario is we play one of those two next year at the end of January 2018. If we can get a fixture in between, we will. We are talking to some other people about that."

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