Metro rule out Halfpenny approach
July 23, 2013
Leigh Halfpenny is a man in demand © Getty Images
Racing Metro have distanced themselves from making an approach for British & Irish Lions star Leigh Halfpenny with their president Jacky Lorenzetti denying any contact with the fullback's representatives.
Halfpenny, whose contract is up at the end of the season, is one of the most sought after players in world rugby having starred for both Wales and the Lions in recent times. Earlier in the year, he was named the Six Nations Player of the Championship having slotted 74 points for Wales and helped them secure their second northern hemisphere title in as many seasons.
And for the Lions, Halfpenny shone for the tourists scooping the Player of the Series award for a host of superb performances including his man of the match showing in the final Test.
With fellow Lions Dan Lydiate, Jonathan Sexton and Jamie Roberts preparing for life at Racing Metro next season, Halfpenny has been heavily linked with a move to join them in France. But despite reports in the Rugby Paper stating that Toulon, Clermont and Metro had all met Halfpenny's representatives, the Parisian side have released a statement denying any contact.
"Racing Metro 92, through its president Jacky Lorenzetti, wishes to deny this information. The club is not one of the proposed bidding agents."
Despite Metro's apparent distancing from Halfpenny, the Welsh Rugby Union is still on high alert as it attempts to keep one of Wales' top players at his current region the Cardiff Blues. The Blues' CEO Richard Holland is fully aware of the uphill battle that his organisation faces with the Top 14 clubs able to offer Halfpenny a bigger deal.
And Holland has confirmed the Blues will be helped financially by the WRU when they sit down and offer Halfpenny a new contract.
"We haven't got three-quarters of a million to put on the table, or half a million," Holland told the Rugby Paper. "I will be honest with his representatives and tell them what we can afford. There has to be a realisation that we can only afford so much.
"All I can do is put forward something which is competitive and we are confident we can broker a deal to keep Leigh at the Blues. The WRU has made additional funds available."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Italy coach Jacques Brunel spoke to ESPN ahead of his final season as Italy coach and tells of his desire to experiment and evolve
"There's no bull with me, I just tell it straight." Tom Hamilton talks to Warren Gatland in an exclusive interview
With the retirement of Adam Jones, Welsh rugby says goodbye to a great player and one of its biggest personalities too, writes Tom Hamilton
Cards, kicks, slips and scores: It's The Week in Pictures, the finest snaps from the last seven days of rugby