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).
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)
- Leigh Halfpenny 14. Alex Cuthbert 13. Gavin Evans 12. Jamie Roberts 11. Harry Robinson 10. Rhys Patchell 9. Lewis Jones
Grand Slam countdown
Robin Copeland 7. Sam Warburton 6. Josh Navidi (c ) 5. Lou Reed 4. James Down 3. Beniot Bourrust 2. Rhys Williams 1. Sam Hobbs
Kristian Dacey 17. Nathan Trevett 18. Scott Andrews 19. Macauley Cook 20. Luke Hamilton 21 Gareth Davies 22. Ceri Sweeney 23. Owen Williams
Full-back Leigh Halfpenny says his World Cup semi-final penalty miss against France will not cross his mind when Wales go for a the Grand Slam title against Les Bleus this Saturday.
A win for Wales will mean a third Grand Slam in 8 seasons and revenge for that heartbreaking World Cup defeat.