Leigh Halfpenny: Wales full-back joins Scarlets on dual contract

Leigh Halfpenny
Leigh Halfpenny has scored 619 points in 71 appearances for Wales

Leigh Halfpenny has signed a three-year contract with Scarlets in a deal partly funded by the Welsh Rugby Union.

The Wales and British and Irish Lions full-back, who has 75 international caps, was out of contract after spending three seasons with Toulon.

"I'm delighted to be coming back to play in Wales," said the 28-year-old.

"I would like to thank the Scarlets and the WRU for giving me the opportunity to sign a National Dual Contract [NDC] and can't wait to get started."

Halfpenny's deal at Scarlets, who won the Pro12 last season, is likely to see 60% of his salary paid by the WRU.

The player's return to Wales has delighted Wales head coach Warren Gatland.

"It is great news for Welsh rugby that Leigh Halfpenny is returning to play his rugby in Wales," said Gatland.

"The NDC system helps us to bring these players back and I look forward to seeing him play for the Scarlets."

Wales coach Warren Gatland has welcomed Leigh Halfpenny's return to play in Wales
Wales coach Warren Gatland has welcomed Leigh Halfpenny's return to play in Wales

Halfpenny, who has 71 Wales caps to add to his four for the Lions, has opted for Scarlets over Cardiff Blues, the region he left for France in the summer of 2014.

The world-class kicker was expected to stay in France for another season, but Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal announced in June that the club would not renew his contract.

Boudjellal said Halfpenny had missed too many matches because of injuries and international commitments.

The player was absent for Toulon's Top 14 final defeat by Clermont Auvergne in June when he was on Lions duty in New Zealand.

Talks with the Blues earlier this year came to nothing, with chief executive Richard Holland saying the deal had foundered over the length of the contract on offer.

Instead Halfpenny will bolster the Scarlets backline, which has lost fellow Lions selection Liam Williams to English side Saracens.

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