The latest reports emerging from France (via Midi-Olympique) suggest that Leigh Halfpenny, originally thought to be close to recovery, may in fact end up missing the entire season.
The Welsh full-back, who suffered a cruciate ligament injury against Italy in September of last year, was at one stage expected to be recovered by this week, and Toulon coach Bernard Laporte had planned on giving Halfpenny game time in their Top 14 clash with Pau this weekend.
However, Halfpenny didn’t feature in any way in Toulon’s defeat by Racing 92 in the European Champions Cup last weekend, and the latest reports suggest that, while no fixed date of recovery has been set, he will not don the Toulon colours again this season.
The news is of course of great disappointment to Laporte, but will be equally frustrating to Wales head coach Warren Gatland. Wales will spend their summer touring New Zealand, where they will play three tests against the world champions.
The prospect of completing such an assignment (not to mention their clash with England at the end of May) without their famed place kicker will be worrying for Gatland, who has had to make do without the Welsh wizard for Wales’ entire World Cup and 2016 Six Nations campaigns.
It has also been confirmed today that Justin Tipuric will sit out the rest of the season.
Colm Egan, Pundit Arena
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