Lions Star Set To Be Without A Club When He Returns From New Zealand
Leigh Halfpenny is a free agent.
The Lions fullback is currently over in New Zealand, and looks set to start against the All Blacks for the first Test in the absence of Stuart Hogg. But he will return home from the tour next month unemployed.
The Welsh star was offered a deal to return to the Cardiff Blues on a dual-contract earlier this year, but couldn’t agree terms due to the length of the deal. It was reported that Toulon were keen to keep him, but it seems they have grown frustrated with his international commitments.
Halfpenny missed the Top 14 final, which Toulon lost, and instead flew out with the Lions. Having played such an integral role in both their quarter-final and semi-final wins, owner Mourad Boudjellal obviously wasn’t happy.
He has now confirmed that the fullback’s contract will in fact, not be renewed.
“I did not want to extend it [Halfpenny’s contract],” Boudjellal told RMC Sport.
“It is not for nothing. It the fault of the international system and internationals being absent too often.
“If he had stayed he would have returned in early August and missed the first three games because he could not have played for a month.”
Where Halfpenny’s future lies remains to be seen. A deal could potentially still be on the table to join Cardiff, or even Scarlets who have previously expressed interest as Liam Williams joins Saracens. A number of English clubs will also no doubt be interested.