Bath have become the latest club to say they won’t be signing Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny.
Fresh on the heels of Wasps director of rugby Dai Young telling Wales Online that they had given up trying to acquire the former Blues star after finding ‘it very hard to get a decision out of him’, the West Country club have said that they are not interested in signing the three-time Lions tourist.
Speaking to the Bath Chronicle, Bath’s director of rugby, Todd Blackadder, poured cold water on rumours that the Welshman would be moving to the Rec.
“We haven’t spoken to him at all.
“We’re not in that space. There’s no truth to those links at all.”
With Tom Homer at 15 as well as England winger Anthony Watson being an accomplished full-back, Blackadder obviously feels that the club are well-covered in this area.
The cost of bringing in the 71-times capped back would have also undoubtedly put off him off, with Halfpenny on a reputed €600,000-a-year at Toulon.
With the Blues and Scarlets having already said that they won’t be signing him, time is running out for the 2013 Lions Man of the Series to find a new club before the start of the new season.
After Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal decided not to offer him a new contract at the end of May, citing his lack of availability due to international commitments as a big factor in the decision, Halfpenny has been in limbo.
Boudjellal’s decision brought down the curtain on a three-year spell at the French club, which saw the Gorseinon-product pick up the European Champions Cup in 2015 and earn a Top 14 runners-up medal in 2016, and score over 500 points.
With the doors having definitively closed on a move back to his homeland and a move to England apparently unlikely as well, the world’s premier goal-kicker may well end up staying in France.
The issue of ‘Gatland’s law’ further complicates the picture as staying in France – likewise if he were to end up in England – would mean that he would be captured by the law and would thus have to depend on being one of Gatland’s four ‘wildcard’ picks for the upcoming autumn internationals.
Although as one of Gatland’s mainstays, it would be a major surprise if he wasn’t one of his wildcard picks this November.
It will be interesting to see what happens next in this ongoing saga.
Hefin Jones, Pundit Arena
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Read More About: 2017 Autumn internationals, bath rugby, British and Irish lions, British and Irish Lions 2013 tour to Australia, cardiff blues, dai young, european champions cup, french top 14 final, leigh halfpenny, llanelli scarlets, Mourad Boudjellal, todd blackadder, toulon rugby, warren gatland, wasps rugby