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Halfpenny wants kicking duties
ESPNscrum Staff
January 28, 2012
Cardiff's Leigh Halfpenny kicks for goal, London Irish v Cardiff Blues, Heineken Cup, Madejski Stadium, Reading, England, January 14, 2012
Leigh Halfpenny has been in fine kicking form for the Blues recently © Getty Images
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Fullback Leigh Halfpenny is desperate to take on the kicking responsibilities for Wales during the Six Nations.

The 23-year-old, who has always been utilised as a long-range marksman since breaking on to the international scene, is eager to be Wales' first-choice kicker after taking on the duties for Cardiff Blues in recent months. With James Hook set to deputise for the injured Rhys Priestland at fly-half for next weekend's clash with Ireland, Halfpenny may be handed the kicking tee ahead of the Perpignan playmaker.

Asked if he wants to be Wales' kicked, Halfpenny told Walesonline: "I don't know if that chance will materialise, but if it does, all I can say is that it would be a dream come true. "I think I'm ready for it and I would view it as a great opportunity, a reward for all the hard work I have put in to that part of my game over the last few years, practising every day at Gorseinon RFC.

"I get asked whether I could handle the pressure, and I think I could. My routine, no matter who I'm playing for or how big or hostile the crowd happens to be, is to imagine I am back on that field in Gorseinon.

"You don't think about the consequences of missing, you just put yourself in your own little world and try to do all the same things you would in practice. Then you just let your technique take over, go through your routine, relax, and swing the boot."

Halfpenny believes Wales' victory over Ireland in last October's World Cup quarter-final could give their Irish opponents an added motivational edge ahead of the clash in Dublin next Sunday.

"Much will be made of their thirst for revenge after we beat them in the World Cup and, whatever anyone says, I think that is bound to be a factor we are going to have to deal with," he said.

"But in Dublin it is also going to be about dealing with the conditions - it's usually a mixture of cold, wet and windy - and a home crowd which is as fervent as any you encounter in the Six Nations.

You have to execute things well, earn the right to impose your game-plan, but you also have to be in the right mindset and we cannot afford to be lacking in that department which I don't think we will be. Saying all that, let's not forget there will be pressure on Ireland as well."

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