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Wales star Leigh Halfpenny announces international retirement

By Josh Raisey
Leigh Halfpenny

Wales fullback Leigh Halfpenny has confirmed that he will retire from international rugby after playing against the Barbarians next week at the Principality Stadium .

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The 34-year-old made his Test debut in 2008 and has gone on to become Wales’ third highest point scorer of all-time across his 101 caps. The Scarlets star also earned four caps for the British & Irish Lions in three tours between 2009 and 2017, being named the player of the series for the victorious 2013 tour in Australia.

He shared a statement on social media on Wednesday, where he also said that there will be imminent news on his club future, hinting that a possible move could be on the cards.

“After having time to reflect after the Rugby World Cup camapign,” he wrote on X. “It’s with a heavy heart that I’ve decided that it’s time for me to step away from international rugby.

“The decicion hasn’t been easy, but the time feels right for me now and I look forward to running out one last time against the Barbarians next week at home.

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“It’s been such a huge honour and privilege to put on the Welsh jersey and represent my country over the past 15 years.

“It was a dream as a kid growing up playing for Gorseinon to one day play for Wales and I’ve made the most incredible memories.

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“There’s been ups and downs but I will look back on my international career with immense pride, there’s no better feeling running out to a full Principlaity Stadium wearing the Welsh jersey and singing the national anthem.

“I’m going to miss it, but I will be forever grateful for the oppoortunities I’ve had and to every single person who has helped be along the way. It’s been unelievable to play with such special people over the years and I will cherish the friendships I’ve made.

“I’m excited about this group of players coming through for Wales and what they can achieve in the future. I’m looking forward to supporting the boys form the stands.

“I’d like to say a huge thank you to all of the players, coaches and staff I’ve been fortunate to work alongside; to my family and friends who have been with me through all the ups and downs and ot all the fans who have supported me throughout.

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“Whilst I’ll be moving on from the international game, I’m excited about the next chapter as a player in this game which has given me so much and look forward to sharing details of my club future soon. Diolch.”

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finn 4 hours ago
Why the world needs a reverse Lions tour

I think there’s a lot of reasons this wouldn’t work, but if we’re just proposing fun things how about a “World Series” held the june/july following a world cup. The teams competing each four years would be: the current world champions The Pacific Islands The British & Irish Lions The World XV Barbarians FC to ensure all teams are fairly evenly matched, the current world champions would name their squad first; then The Pacific Islands would name next, and would be able to select any pacific qualified players not selected by the world champions, including players already “captured” by non-pacific nations who would otherwise have been eligible for selection (eg. Bundee Aki); the Lions would select next; and then The World XV and Barbarians FC would be left to fight over anyone not selected. Some people will point out that 5 teams is too many for a mid-year round robin, particularly as it would be nice to have a final as well; and they would be right! But because we’re just having fun here we’re going to innovate an entirely new format for rugby, where the round robin is played in one stadium over the course of one day, with each game lasting just 40 minutes with no half time or change of ends. The round robin decides the seedings for the knockouts, which are contested by all 5 teams in one stadium over the course of one day, according to the following schedule: Knockout Round 1: seed 5 v seed 4 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Quarter Final: winner of Round 1 v seed 3 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Semi Final: winner of Quarter Final v seed 2 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Final: winner of Semi Final v seed 1 (played as a standard 80 minute rugby match) for the round robin, teams would name a 15 man starting lineup and a 16 man bench. Substitutions during games can only be made for injuries, but any number of substitutions can be made between games. The same rules apply for the finals, except that we return to having a regular 8 man bench, and would allow substitutions as normal during the 80 minute final.

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S
Simon 6 hours ago
Is the Six Nations balance of power shifting?

There are a few issues with the article. Despite somehow getting to a RWC semi final, England are nowhere near Probable status and should be swapped with Scotland on current form. France’s failure at RWC 23 has massively hit their mindset. Psychologically, they need a reset of gigantic proportions otherwise they will revert to, Top 14 first, international rugby an afterthought again. Ireland are allowed to play the way they are by less than acceptable officiating. Make no bones about it, with Easterby coaching, Ireland cheat, they break the rules at almost every facet of the game and generally referees, influenced by the media that Ireland are somehow playing the best rugby in the world, allow them. Scrums - Porter never pushes straight and immediately turns in. The flankers lose their binds and almost latch on to the opposition props. Rucks - they always and I mean always clear out from the side and take players out beyond the ball, effectively taking them out of being ready for the next phase. Not once do green shirts enter rucks from the rear foot. Referees should be made to look at the video of the game against Wales and see that Irish backs and forwards happily enter rucks from the side to effect a clearout, thus giving them the sub 3 second ruck speed everybody dreams about. They also stand in offside positions at rucks to ‘block’ opposing players from making clear tackles allowing the ball carrier to break the gainline almost every time. They then turn and are always ahead of play and therefore enter subsequent rucks illegally. Mauls - there is always a blocker between the ball catcher and the opposition. It is subtle but it is there. Gatland still needs to break the shackles and allow his team a bit more freedom to play rugby. He no longer has a team of 16 stone plus players who batter the gainline. He has to adapt and be more thoughtful in attack. Scotland are playing well but they have the creaky defence that leaks tries.

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