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All or nothing for Halfpenny


Leigh Halfpenny

Leigh Halfpenny

Leigh Halfpenny

Leigh Halfpenny readily admits that goalkicking is a "hero or zero" occupation.

But Wales full-back Halfpenny will not shirk the responsibility if he is asked to take centre-stage against RBS 6 Nations opponents Scotland in Cardiff on Sunday. The Cardiff Blues star displayed nerves of steel in Dublin last weekend, booting an 80th-minute penalty that gave Wales a 23-21 victory over Ireland and set them up for a major Six Nations title challenge.

He said: "You can be the hero or the zero as the kicker. But that is why I love the job, and last Sunday is what makes all the hard work worthwhile. The feeling after that kick was one of the best I've ever had."

Halfpenny took over the kicking duties from fly-half Rhys Priestland, whose malfunctioning radar meant he twice hit the post from short range and ultimately resulted in him being replaced as front-line marksman.

It is not yet known if Priestland will reclaim the role on Sunday, or whether Wales decide to pin their faith on Halfpenny, whose eight-point contribution in Dublin proved decisive.

"No matter how much I tried to think it was just a normal kick, my heart was racing like mad," said Halfpenny, recalling his match-winning strike. "But I just tried to go through the same routine I do with every kick and put myself back in Gorseinon, where I practise.

"When I looked up to see it going through the sticks I was chuffed to bits."

Halfpenny had previously been used by Wales exclusively as a long-range kicking specialist, but he now does the job regularly for the Blues and it would be no surprise to see him retained ahead of Priestland this weekend.

"I am not sure at the moment," he added. "I haven't had any news yet. I haven't spoken to anyone about it and I haven't been told anything.

"If Rhys is given the kicking, he has got my 100% backing and support. It's all down to the team effort at the end of the day. But if I am given the opportunity to kick, I would love to. I wouldn't want anything more, really."