Leigh Halfpenny: Dual contract would help 'protect full-back'

Leigh Halfpenny is taken from the field on a stretcher after rupturing a cruciate knee ligament while playing for Wales against Italy in September 2015
Leigh Halfpenny ruptured a cruciate knee ligament playing for Wales against Italy in September 2015

Leigh Halfpenny could be tempted back to Wales by a dual contract and be "looked after a bit more", says former Cardiff Blues captain Xavier Rush.

Full-back Halfpenny's contract with Toulon runs out in summer 2016.

He has been linked with English clubs, but Rush thinks Halfpenny's injury record could influence his decision.

"I think looking after his body could be a determining factor for Leigh because he has had a few concussions and other injuries," he said.

"It may not be a bad shout to get on one of those [dual] contracts, come back here and just be looked after a bit more.

Leigh Halfpenny is led off the field with a dislocated shoulder during Wales' 2014 Six Nations match with England
Halfpenny needed surgery after this shoulder dislocation against England in 2014

"If he goes off to Wasps or another one of those English clubs they're going to want their pound of flesh off him week-in, week-out."

National dual contracts are funded 60% by the Welsh Rugby Union with the region paying the balance, and limit the number of games a player can take part in.

Halfpenny, the 26-year-old British and Irish Lions Test player, left the Blues for France in the summer of 2014.

And while he helped Toulon win the European Champions Cup in 2015, he has been ruled out with injuries for large periods of his time in France.

In addition to having shoulder surgery in 2014, Halfpenny missed the 2015 Rugby World Cup after suffering a knee injury just before the tournament and expects to miss the Six Nations.

Wales' dual-contracted players
Cardiff Blues: Sam Warburton; Gareth Anscombe.
Ospreys: Alun Wyn Jones; Dan Biggar; Dan Lydiate; Rhys Webb; Scott Baldwin; James King; Rory Thornton; Dan Baker.
Scarlets: Jake Ball; Scott Williams; Samson Lee; Rhodri Jones, Jonathan Davies (from summer 2016)
Newport Gwent Dragons: Tyler Morgan; Hallam Amos.

However, the prolific goal-kicker is in demand, with the Blues reportedly interested, and Scarlets saying they would be keen to take the player back to Wales.

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young - who coached Halfpenny at the Blues - saying it was "obvious" to link Halfpenny with the club.

If Halfpenny were to return to Wales on a national dual contract, Blues would be given first refusal as the region who developed him.

Wales centre Jonathan Davies has accepted a dual contract, and will return to play for the Scarlets from Clermont Auvergne next season.