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Halfpenny is no half measure


Leigh Halfpenny

Leigh Halfpenny

Leigh Halfpenny

Leigh Halfpenny is ready to fill whatever role Wales coach Warren Gatland might identify for him in Sunday's World Cup opener against South Africa.

And if he takes to the field, it would complete a remarkable comeback from believing his World Cup dream had been shattered by injury less than five months ago. The 22-year-old Cardiff Blues back underwent foot surgery that required a screw being inserted.

But Halfpenny returned to action against Argentina in Wales' final World Cup warm-up game, starting on the wing before moving to full-back instead of Lee Byrne. And he said: "It was great to get a chance at full-back for 20-odd minutes against Argentina. But as long as I get a jersey on and play for Wales, I don't care what position it is."

Halfpenny's blistering pace makes him one of the most potent attacking weapons available to Gatland, and it would be a surprise if he is not selected in the matchday 22 on Friday.

George North and Shane Williams look certain to have nailed down the two starting wing berths, but Gatland will surely be assessing his full-back options.

Byrne looked badly out of form against Argentina, suggesting both Halfpenny and the Scarlets' Rhys Priestland could be looked at closely as alternatives.

Halfpenny put himself in World Cup contention by embarking on a gruelling rehabilitation programme. It included cryotherapy chamber treatment in Poland and regular visits to oxygen chambers in Swansea, all with one aim in mind - to make Gatland's 30-man squad for New Zealand.

"It was tough with the injuries," he added. "But fair play to all the medical staff, everyone has been superb.

"They said they would do everything to get me here, and they have definitely done that.

"The Wales coaches rang me the next day after the operation and said they were going to do everything possible to try to get me fit. They've been as good as their word."

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