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Tuesday 2 September 2014

Halfpenny form delights Jenkins

Published 26/06/2013 | 22:37

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Leigh Halfpenny has been a revelation on the tour of Australia

Neil Jenkins has hailed the "absolutely incredible" goalkicking performances of potential British and Irish Lions Test series hero Leigh Halfpenny.

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Full-back Halfpenny will line up in Saturday's second Test against Australia as a player whose unrelenting accuracy could boot the Wallabies into oblivion. The Lions, 1-0 up and chasing a first Test series triumph for 16 years, have lost talisman lock Paul O'Connell through injury, while England prop Alex Corbisiero is rated doubtful as he battles calf muscle trouble.

But when head coach Warren Gatland names his team on Thursday, Halfpenny's name will not only be first on the sheet in terms of positional order, he is also arguably their most likely match-winner after scoring 78 points on tour so far, landing 27 from a possible 29 shots at goal. "He's been absolutely incredible - his record speaks for itself," Lions kicking coach Jenkins said.

"He averages probably under one miss per game, which is incredible. He's had an outstanding couple of years.

"We (Wales) spoke to Leigh a couple of years ago about trying to get it (goalkicking) full time for the Cardiff Blues. He was doing a lot of long-range stuff for us, but we felt moving forward the more kickers we had then the better for us, really.

"He's pushed and pushed, worked hard, managed to get it for the Blues and then took over for us in Dublin (2012) against Ireland when Rhys Priestland missed a few - and he has never looked back.

"Most kickers have got very good temperaments and the guys here on the Lions tour have incredible temperaments.

"They are happy to rock up, irrelevant of the issues surrounding them. It might be a kick to win the game, the crowd, the amount of people watching on TV, they just seem to get into that zone.

"You are trying to score the points for the team and you have got to put the work in to do that. You will have days when things don't go right, that is understandable. You can't get out of bed every day and everything goes well.

"But I certainly believe if you put the work in, you work hard throughout the week, you put yourself in a good place."

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