Wales Rugby
Halfpenny set for Six Nations return
ESPN Staff
December 8, 2012
Wales' Leigh Halfpenny receives treatment, Wales v Australia, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales, December 1
Wales' Leigh Halfpenny receives treatment after being injured in the closing stages of his side's recent defeat to Australia © Getty Images

Wales fullback Leigh Halfpenny is expected to be fit for the start of his side's defence of the Six Nations crown.

The in-form 23-year-old suffered a neck injury during Wales' recent 14-12 defeat to Australia and had to be stretchered from the field before being taken to hospital. The British & Irish Lions hopeful has since received on-going treatment from specialists who have advised that he should be back in action ahead of Wales' opening Six Nations clash against Ireland at the Millennium Stadium on February 2.

"We've had a few opinions now from the specialists and it seems to be about six weeks will be there time where the nerve will have settled down and it'll be safe to go back to play," the Cardiff Blues fullback told Sport Wales. "Basically it's when my symptoms subside and I'm not in any pain or when I'm doing contact I'm not getting any pins and needles down my arms."

Reflecting on the closing moments of a dramatic clash against the Wallabies that saw Halfpenny floored while trying to thwart what turned out to be Kurtley Beale's match-winning try for the visitors, he said: "I wasn't sure whether Australia had scored or not. I was conscious so I was aware of the atmosphere and the crowd so I guessed that they might have scored but I wasn't sure if we had won or lost at the time.

"My head was in the ground so I couldn't see anything either. It wasn't until I got into the medical room where they were assessing me, I asked did we win or lose and they told me that they had won. It was devastating. That was the fourth time we have come so close now but still so far away. It's so frustrating as well."

Wales centre Jamie Roberts is expected to be sidelined for a similar amount of time having picked up an elbow injury during the same game but the start of the Six Nations may come too soon for lock Ian Evans who is sidelined with a knee injury suffered in the defeat to Samoa last month.

The defending champions are already set to be without second row Alun Wyn Jones who is facing a long lay-off after shoulder surgery while doubts also remain about the likely fitness of flanker Dan Lydiate who is battling back from a broken ankle. Prop Adam Jones is another facing a race against time to prove his fitness following the recurrence of a knee injury that will keep him out of action until the New Year.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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