Wednesday 26 July 2017

Welsh push boat out in bid to bring back Halfpenny

Halfpenny has been offered a national dual contract by the WRU. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
Halfpenny has been offered a national dual contract by the WRU. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

Tom Rooney

The Welsh Rugby Union believe they can do no more to lure Leigh Halfpenny back home when his contract with Toulon expires at the end of the season.

Halfpenny, who joined the three-time European champions in 2014 and enjoyed a mixed stint in the south of France due to a string of injuries, has been offered a national dual contract by the WRU.

However, Toulon are thought to be very keen to keep him, and are planning on offering the 28-year-old a lucrative new deal.

Halfpenny, who currently earns a reputed €700,000 a year, was linked with move to Wasps at the end of 2015, and has incurred the ire of Toulon's eccentric owner Mourad Boudjellal over his frequent battles with injury.

Should Halfpenny return to his homeland, the WRU would pay 60pc of his wages, with the rest coming from whichever region his chooses to join - with the likely destination being his previous club Cardiff Blues.

WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips said: "We have made him the best offer we possibly can. We all hope he comes back, but he is his own man, and I respect his decision.

Mauger: “When you have too many differences it is often hard to give clarity to people going forward and that is probably where we came a bit unstuck.” Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Mauger: “When you have too many differences it is often hard to give clarity to people going forward and that is probably where we came a bit unstuck.” Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

"The clock is now ticking, and there is a point at which Toulon would need some certainty."

Mauger expects Tigers to consider Johnson

Interim boss Aaron Mauger expects Leicester Tigers to run the rule over Martin Johnson as a potential replacement for Richard Cockerill.

Leicester sacked rugby director Cockerill on Monday after consecutive league defeats that followed closely from the record 38-0 European loss at Munster.

Asked if former England coach Johnson could replace Cockerill, Mauger said: "That's other boys' decision, but he's probably one guy you'd look at.

"He's a Leicester legend. I'm sure as the board go through the process of the coaching structure they'll look at all those options."

Rumours of a rift between Cockerill and head coach Mauger were touted as behind the former hooker's exit, after six years at the helm, but Mauger claimed the pair retain a strong relationship.

"Cockers and I knew there would be a lot of differences between us but we thought that could be a good thing," said former All Back centre Mauger.

"Personally we get on really well. But in terms of coaching relationships we probably have lots of fundamental differences of philosophy in how to play and how you train to the point where I'd be saying 'black' and Cockers would be saying 'white'.

"When you have too many differences it is often hard to give clarity to people going forward and that is probably where we came a bit unstuck."

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