Rugby World Cup: Wales consider tactics switch after Halfpenny blow

Leigh Halfpenny and Dan Biggar
Leigh Halfpenny's injury means Dan Biggar (right) will take on the kicking responsibilities for Wales
Rugby World Cup
Hosts: England and Wales Dates: 18 September-31 October
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and sports extra, BBC Radio Wales and in Welsh on BBC Radio Cymru, plus live text commentary on every match on the BBC Sport website.

Rob Howley admits Wales may have to tweak tactics following the loss of Leigh Halfpenny for the World Cup.

Dan Biggar will take over the place-kicking duties from the Toulon full-back who tore knee ligaments in the 23-19 win over Italy.

But attack coach Howley believes the Ospreys fly-half cannot match Halfpenny's prowess from long range.

"I think there may be a 10-metre difference and that changes the landscape a bit for us," said Howley.

"Instead of kicking for goal we'll kick into the corners.

"That gives us probably the ability to increase the pressure in the opposition 22 and I thought we did that fantastically well in the win against Ireland.

Kickers
*Leigh Halfpenny's figures for the 2014-15 European Champions' Cup. Dan Biggar's figures for 2014-15 Pro12.

"Games are about dominating and being clinical in those zones and probably with Leigh's kicking prowess we haven't gone into those zones too often, because we've been kicking for goal and building a lead from 50-55 metres.

"His kicking is phenomenal, I don't have to say that he'll be missed."

Wales start their World Cup against Uruguay in Cardiff on 20 September and also face England, Fiji and Australia in Pool A.

Big challenge for Dan Biggar

Howley said the Wales management had not been tempted to bring in a proven long-range place-kicker to replace Halfpenny,

In any case, he added, Biggar had already made his feelings clear.

"You know Dan Biggar, he's already saying he can [take the long kicks]," said former Wales scrum-half Howley.

However, Howley believes the biggest challenge for the fly-half will be combining kicking duties with his role as a playmaker.

Wales' World Cup pool games
Sunday, 20 Sept, 14:30 BST: Wales v Uruguay, Millennium Stadium
Saturday, 26 Sept, 20:00 BST: England v Wales, Twickenham Stadium
Thursday, 1 Oct, 16:45 BST: Wales v Fiji, Millennium Stadium
Saturday, 10 Oct, 16:45 BST: Wales v Australia, Twickenham Stadium

"Dan's taken over the duties several times from Leigh Halfpenny - 2013 springs to mind, that Wales-England game [a 30-3 win in Cardiff]. He's a quality kicker.

"I think the challenge for Dan - and he's matched this in the regional game - is kicking and playing.

"At international level that pressure of being a kicker and a playmaker [is] a challenge for Dan moving forward, but I've got no doubt he's got the qualities."

Biggar scored 226 points in 21 matches for the Ospreys in 2014-15, and has scored 153 points for Wales in 35 appearances.

His kick success rate in the Pro12 last season was 86%.

Halfpenny's 15 points against Italy took him past 500 points for his country in 62 appearances.

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