Early reports are breaking this morning regarding a deal to bring Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny to Pro12 champions, the Scarlets.
Halfpenny, a prolific and world-class goal kicker, was man of the series when the British and Irish Lions toured Australia in 2013, but lost his full-back test jersey to fellow Welshman Liam Williams for the 2017 tour to New Zealand. As it happens, it is the departure of Williams from the Scarlets that leaves the region in search of a top class full-back, which is where Halfpenny comes in.
Formerly of Cardiff Blues – one of several clubs that had hoped to lure the star back to the U.K – Halfpenny has spent three very successful years with French giants Toulon, and tasted European glory in 2015, scoring 14 points in the European Champions Cup final victory over Clermont.
However, there has been uncertainty over his future as Toulon released him at the start of the summer, and negotiations with Wasps, Cardiff Blues and Bath either broke down, or proved to be mere rumours.
It is believed that Halfpenny will sign a national Dual Contract that will see the WRU pay 60% of his wage bill, with the Scarlets footing the remaining 40%. I am delighted to see a player of Halfpenny’s talent and stature return to Wales, and although he is a very different type of full-back to the departing Liam Williams, few would deny he will be a valuable addition to a lively and very exciting back division down at Llanelli.