Leigh Halfpenny: Mike Phillips wants Wales full-back to return to Welsh region

Leigh Halfpenny
Leigh Halfpenny is the third highest points scorer for the Wales national side behind Neil Jenkins and Stephen Jones

Former Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips says the four Welsh regions must do what they can to bring Leigh Halfpenny back to play in the Pro12.

Halfpenny, 28, is without a club ahead of the new season after leaving Toulon.

The Welsh Rugby Union had held talks earlier in the year to sign the full-back on a National Dual Contract (NDC) with one of the four Welsh regions, but no deal was agreed.

"It would be great to have him back in Wales," said Phillips.

Bath and Wasps have this week stated they are not interested in signing Halfpenny, with Phillips hoping the three-time British and Irish Lions tourist returns to one of the four Welsh regions.

"The Welsh regions should do everything they can to keep these players," said Phillips.

"Hopefully they can do everything to get Leigh back in Wales, because it would be great for everyone, especially for the young supporters to come and see the stars play.

"It's important the talent stays here."

Halfpenny joined Toulon in 2014 from Cardiff Blues and won the European Cup in his first season.

Halfpenny and Phillips
Leigh Halfpenny and Mike Phillips celebrate after the British and Irish Lions third Test win over Australia in 2013

His current deal ran out with Toulon in June and with no new contract agreed with the French side, Halfpenny is set to leave after three seasons in the Top 14 and looking for a fresh challenge with the season just over a month away.

"Sometimes going outside of Wales is great for your development and a lot of players have done it and come back as better players," said Phillips.

"Hopefully he can come back and bring what he has learned outside into Welsh rugby.

"There would be so many fans who would be pleased to see him.

"He is one of the stars of the team and his return would be great for the future of Welsh rugby."

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