Saturday 25 February 2017

Halfpenny ready to roar

Matt Lloyd

Leigh Halfpenny shared the mascot duties with Keith Earls for the Lions but is keen to prove he is no soft touch in Dublin tomorrow.

Wales wing Halfpenny comes face to face with his Irish rival for the first time since they were team-mates in South Africa last summer.

The pair were the youngest tourists with the Lions so shared the duties of carrying team mascot Lenny the Lion wherever they went.

That often landed either one with a fine as team-mates played a series of practical jokes in camp. But Halfpenny aims to have the last laugh tomorrow.

Halfpenny (21) said: "I got on well with Keith because we're both in the same boat. We had come from nowhere into the squad after a sudden rise last season.

"He showed what he is capable of on that tour and at times he was superb. But I think he was as gutted as me when I was sent home (injured) because that meant he had to look after Lenny.

"It was an honour and a pain at the same time. There was a fine if ever I was caught without him so the other lads kept hiding him.

"The last I saw of Lenny was when I handed him back to Keith before flying home. I just hope he gave him a wash because he was smelling."

Halfpenny is chasing a hat-trick for Wales after tries against Scotland and France in the last two rounds of the Six Nations.

He said: "I feel I'm slowly getting back to last year's form. I'd still like to be scoring more tries and improve my all-round game."

Irish Independent

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