Heartbreak for Leigh Halfpenny as injury forces exit from 100th Test match

The moment fans return will be even more special as they watch Halfpenny play his 100th Test match Credit: PA

Welsh rugby fans have returned to the Principality Stadium on Saturday for the first time in over a year to see Leigh Halfpenny pick up his 100th cap for his country.

The stadium has been missing fans during games since the February 2020, but their return for Wales' match against Canada was set to be even more special as Halfpenny hit the incredible milestone.

But there was heartbreak early in the game as Halfpenny was injured just seconds into the game. In tears, he was then stretchered off for injury ending what 100th Test match.

The 32-year-old, who currently has 95 caps for Wales and four for the Lions, made his debut for Wales at the age of 19 against South Africa where he started on the wing but soon established himself at full-back.

Since then he has scored a total of 778 points for Wales putting him third in the list of the country's top scorers.

Leigh Halfpenny was injured soon into his 100th Test Match Credit: PA

Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny will undergo a scan to gauge the extent of a knee injury that forced him off inside two minutes of his 100th Test match.

Wales boss Wayne Pivac said that Halfpenny "tweaked" his knee during the 68-12 victory over Canada at the Principality Stadium.

He left the pitch on a stretcher cart, with Wales moving wing Jonah Holmes to full-back as they ran in 10 tries in front of a first home crowd since February last year.

Pivac said: "It was a shock to everyone, wasn't it? Just under a minute into the game.

"He just stepped off one leg and tweaked the knee. We won't know how bad it is until he gets that scanned, and he will do that early next week.

"He is in his 100th Test match, and he knew straightaway he had done something, we just don't know how bad it is.

"He was frustrated that was how his 100th Test finished. Anyone would be like that I guess. We will know more once he's had a scan.

"He is still driven and he still feels he can offer something for his country. While he has that at the forefront of his mind, I have no doubt he will bounce back."

Leigh made his international debut at the age of 19 Credit: PA

Speaking ahead of the game Halfpenny said it was an "absolute honour and privilege" to play his 100th test match for Wales.

He said: “I never could have dreamed in a million years I’d be playing my 100th Test for Wales and including the Lions in that as well. I’m speechless to be honest with you.

“To win my first cap with Wales and play for the Lions was an absolute dream come true. My first Test was back in the autumn of 2008 against South Africa. When I got called up for that campaign, Wales had just won the Grand Slam. I remember watching that on the TV so for me then to be amongst all those players a couple of months later was pretty surreal.

“I never expected to then get selected against South Africa. I remember being pretty nervous going into that game and it was an incredible day to put the Welsh jersey on and have my family there supporting me. To run out in front of a full crowd and that first bus ride into the stadium bought tears to my eyes to be honest. The hairs on the back of my neck stand up when I talk about it.

“It was absolutely incredible, very special, and I remember the game just went so quickly. It was incredible how fast it went. It was a tough game and coming off the pitch we were disappointed we hadn’t won. I was opposite Bryan Habana for my first Test so I don’t think it comes much tougher than that! He was a world-class player, but I really enjoyed the whole day, the build-up, and I got to take a penalty. It was in front of the sticks on the 22, but I’ve never been so nervous taking a kick in all my life.

"As a kid practising down the field with my grandad we’d put scenarios in and say things like ‘This is a kick to win the game for Wales.’ I always dreamed of playing and kicking for Wales and to do it in my first Test was incredible.

"It was a dream come true to kick my first points and my grandad was in the crowd that day. He took me kicking down the field and all the way through to the academy where I started working with Neil who took me to another level.”