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Halfpenny wins European Champions Cup with Toulon

Wales star Leigh Halfpenny celebrated winning the European Rugby Champions Cup with his club side Toulon.

Full-back Halfpenny kicked 14 points in Saturday's final, and became the tenth Welsh winner of the European Cup.

Wales teammate Jonathan Davies was on the losing side though, as Toulon beat Clermont Auvergne 24-18 at Twickenham.

Leigh Halfpenny became the tenth Welsh player to lift rugby's European Cup. Credit: PA

Toulon came out on top in the all-French final, to claim a hat-trick of successive European titles.

Wesley Fofana and Nick Abendanon scored Clermont's tries, while Mathieu Bastareaud and Drew Mitchell crossed for Toulon.

Halfpenny kicked a conversion and four penalties to seal victory.


Injury puts an end to Leigh Halfpenny's season

Halfpenny leaving the pitch at Twickenham Credit: PA

Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny will miss the rest of this season after dislocating his right shoulder during the 29-18 RBS 6 Nations defeat against England at Twickenham.

Halfpenny, who kicked all Wales' points with six penalties, was comfortably his team's best player.

But Wales head coach Warren Gatland revealed the extent of Halfpenny's injury in his post-match press conference.

Scarlets back Liam Williams will be favourite to replace him in next Saturday's final Six Nations game against Scotland in Cardiff.

Scrum-half Rhys Webb also went off injured, suffering what appeared to be an ankle injury, but there was no immediate fitness update on him.

Gatland is due to announce his team to face Scotland on Tuesday.

Halfpenny named on IRB Player of the Year shortlist

Leigh Halfpenny was star of the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour down under Credit: PA

Leigh Halfpenny has made it onto the shortlist for the prestigious IRB Player of the Year Award, with the winner set to be revealed following the final matches of the November internationals.

The 2013 nominees are Eben Etzebeth (South Africa), Leigh Halfpenny (Wales and British & Irish Lions), Sergio Parisse (Italy), Kieran Read (New Zealand) and Ben Smith (New Zealand).


Halfpenny returns to Blues starting line-up

Cardiff Blues' Leigh Halfpenny kicks a penalty against Toulon during the Heineken Cup match at Cardiff Arms Park in October Credit: David Jones/PA Wire

Leigh Halfpenny will get his first start after the neck injury sustained during Wales 12-14 loss to Australia in the Autumn Internationals when the Blues meet Toulon in the Heineken Cup tomorrow.

The Blues have made four changes for the game, which is effectively a dead tie with the Blues unable to reach the competitions quarter final stage.

Halfpenny replaces Jason Tovey at full back while Gavin Evans has recovered from a back injury and Alex Cuthbert from a facial injury to start in place of Owen Williams and Richard Smith.

There is only one change in the forwards with James Down replacing Bradley Davies who remains at home ahead of the birth of his first child over the weekend.

Cardiff Blues Director of Rugby Phil Davies said,

“Physically we are going into the Toulon match in the best shape we have been in as a group. The progress we have made from when we started back in June is quite staggering.

"I am confident, especially after the good results of the last few games that we are in the best place to be going out to face the Top 14 side.

“We need to go out there and make sure we front up physically and when we have the ball we get over the gain line.”

RC Toulon v Cardiff Blues

Saturday 12 January 2:35pm kick off (local time)

  1. Leigh Halfpenny 14. Alex Cuthbert 13. Gavin Evans 12. Jamie Roberts 11. Harry Robinson 10. Rhys Patchell 9. Lewis Jones
  1. Robin Copeland 7. Sam Warburton 6. Josh Navidi (c ) 5. Lou Reed 4. James Down 3. Beniot Bourrust 2. Rhys Williams 1. Sam Hobbs

  2. Kristian Dacey 17. Nathan Trevett 18. Scott Andrews 19. Macauley Cook 20. Luke Hamilton 21 Gareth Davies 22. Ceri Sweeney 23. Owen Williams