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Wales star's welcome return balances teammate's less positive diagnosis

By Paul Smith
Leigh Halfpenny /PA

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Wales received good news ahead of their busy 2021/22 season when fly half Gareth Anscombe emerged unscathed from his long-awaited injury return this weekend.


However, this has immediately been offset by reports that Leigh Halfpenny will probably now miss his country’s entire international season.

The 30-year-old Ospreys no.10 played 37 minutes of his club’s pre-season game at Northampton, kicking a conversion before leaving the field as planned.

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Anscombe first suffered a serious knee injury when representing his country in a World Cup warm-up game in August 2019.

He then aggravated the problem in October 2020 when it was announced he would need a further year out of the game.

Remarkably, Anscombe’s Franklin’s Gardens run-out was his Ospreys debut – more than two years after moving west from Cardiff.


Speaking after the final whistle the 27-times-capped no.10 told BBC Wales he now hopes to make his mark for the Swansea-based club.

“I never expected it to take this long, I don’t think anybody did,” he said.

“It’s been a long hard road and now I look forward to playing some rugby throughout the year.

“To finally put on the boots and play 35 minutes is really pleasing.


“The knee has come out really well and hopefully it is the start of my journey with the Ospreys. All in all, I am pretty pleased and am just glad to get back out there.”

However, the Rugby Paper has reported that 33-year-old full back Halfpenny is now likely to be out of action until April.


If this is the case then the three-time British & Irish Lion will not get the chance to add to his 96 Wales caps during the autumn series or 2022 Six Nations.

Halfpenny suffered a bad knee ligament injury in the opening minutes of his country’s summer test against Canada two months ago.

Meanwhile another injured Wales back George North has posted videos of himself and Dan Lydiate during their rehab which it is believed will lead to a return to action during December.

Flanker Justin Tipuric is also expected to be back on the field late in 2021 following the shoulder injury he sustained with the Lions.


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