Dan Lydiate hopes Leigh Halfpenny returns to Wales from France

By Nick WebbBBC Sport Wales
Leigh Halfpenny and Dan Lydiate
Leigh Halfpenny and Dan Lydiate have played together for Wales and the Lions

Ospreys and Wales flanker Dan Lydiate hopes full-back Leigh Halfpenny becomes the latest exile to return from France.

Halfpenny is out of contract with Toulon at the end of the season and is wanted by the Welsh regions.

The 26-year-old, set to miss the Six Nations with a knee injury, has also been linked with Wasps.

"It would be good for Welsh rugby but there's a lot of decisions to be made above my payroll," said Lydiate, who returned from France in 2014.

"It's what Leigh feels comfortable with. Everyone would love to have Leigh back in Wales."

Lydiate cut short his time with Racing 92 in Paris because of a lack of playing opportunities.

The 27-year-old negotiated his release to become the second player to sign a national dual contract between the Welsh Rugby Union and his region.

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Jonathan Davies will return from Clermont Auvergne to join Scarlets on a dual contract next season, while Luke Charteris will leave Paris to join Bath.

Halfpenny would be a strong contender for a dual contract, which gives the Wales management a controlling stake over how many appearances a player makes.

Cardiff Blues, who gave Halfpenny his regional debut, are keen to have him back, but the Scarlets have also expressed an interest in him.

According to Ospreys backs coach Gruff Rees, their attention lies elsewhere as they attempt to re-sign Wales pair Rhys Webb and Alun Wyn Jones on dual contract.

"I think we recognise a quality player and if he's coming back to Wales, I think that's great for the national game," said Rees.

"But there's so many negotiations around NDCs (national dual contracts) with the governing body and other regions, we're very much looking after looking after the players we're trying to re-commit to the region as opposed to someone like Leigh potentially."

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