Leigh Halfpenny: Wales full-back close to new Toulon deal

By Matt LloydBBC Wales Sport
Leigh Halfpenny
Leigh Halfpenny last played for Toulon in their 10-3 Champions Cup defeat by Saracens in January

Leigh Halfpenny is close to committing his immediate future to RC Toulon and turning down an offer to return to Wales with Cardiff Blues.

The full-back is out of contract with the French Top 14 side this summer.

Toulon have made an offer reported to be worth £750,000 per year.

Halfpenny is set to announce an extension to his current deal for at least another season after the club's European Champions Cup quarter-final against Clermont-Auvergne on Sunday.

The Welsh Rugby Union and Blues have offered the 28-year-old British & Irish Lion a national dual contract (NDC), but Blues chief executive Richard Holland admitted it is "unlikely" Halfpenny, who joined Toulon from the region in 2014, would accept.

Among the stumbling blocks was the length of the NDC with Halfpenny seeking a 28-month deal while the WRU were only willing to offer either a two or three year contract.

Halfpenny, who has played 74 times for Wales and scored 668 points, has also since been linked with a potential move to Bath for the 2018-19 season.

Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal is eager to keep the club's top points-scorer for a fourth season but agreed to delay contract talks until after the Six Nations.

Halfpenny had a week off following Wales' controversial climax to the Six Nations Championship against France in Paris, in which he scored all of Wales' 18 points in their defeat.

On Sunday he will make his first appearance for Toulon since January in their European tie. Wales prop Aaron Jarvis is named on the bench for opponents Clermont.

Boudjellal previously told BBC Wales Sport: "He is like Jonny Wilkinson, he is a very special player and he makes his own decisions.

"We have spoken before but I don't know yet his decision."

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