Halfpenny: I can definitely improve
August 24, 2013
Leigh Halfpenny had a sensational Lions tour © PA Photos
British & Irish Lions star Leigh Halfpenny is adamant he can improve and is keen to point out he is more than just a kicker.
Halfpenny's deadly accuracy with the boot helped propel the Lions to a series victory over Australia in the summer. He was named Player of the Series and while he hit the headlines for his shots at the posts, he also shone with ball in hand.
And it is this aspect of his game that Halfpenny hopes people notice alongside his ability with the boot. "Kicking is the thing I get asked most about and I love talking about it," Halfpenny told Wales Online. "I know I am privileged to be the kicker for Wales and the Lions and I enjoy every second of it.
"But I want to be seen as a rugby player. I love to get the ball in my hands and run with it as well as trying to put players into space. I also love tackling and all the other parts of the game that my position demands. I do my kicking after a rugby session and I never do more than an hour - as long as things go well.
"I see kicking as part of my role. I have a lot more roles than just kicking and I love those roles."
Halfpenny, who was crowned Welsh Rugby Writers' Player of the Year last week, will run out for the Cardiff Blues this term and will look to secure Wales' third Six Nations in as many years later in the season. And worryingly for the rest of the northern hemisphere game, Halfpenny feels there is room improvement in his own game.
"I definitely think I can improve, yes," he added. "Pre-season is for working on things that you want to improve in your game. I'm working on my speed at the moment, which I think will help at full-back.
"I enjoyed the third Test against Australia. I had a chance to run with ball in hand and it was great to counter-attack, get through the gaps and make a few things happen. That's something I learned a lot about on the tour from the quality players who were out there, especially the back three. Hopefully, that will help my running game."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
A preview of the 2014-15 Aviva Premiership season as we run the rule over Bath, Exeter Chiefs, Gloucester, Harlequins, Leicester Tigers and London Irish
Concussion specialist Dr Ryan Kohler warns of the dangers of pushy parents who want their kids back on the field ahead of time
ESPN looks at the forthcoming season of the Guinness PRO12 and assesses how each of the 12 teams will do
"Like the Treaty of Versailles, despite all the promises, the new Participation Agreement is certainly not the final solution." John Taylor writes