Rugby World Cup 2011
Halfpenny grateful for Welsh support
September 7, 2011
Leigh Halfpenny © Getty Images
Leigh Halfpenny wants to repay the medical staff who salvaged his World Cup dream and the Welsh coaches who refused to give up him by producing his very best form in New Zealand.
The Cardiff Blues ace appeared certain to miss the tournament after being forced to undergo surgery on his foot just five months ago. However, after an intensive rehabilitation programme, which featured sessions in a cryotherapy chamber in Poland and oxygen chambers in Swansea, Halfpenny is set to complete a remarkable recovery by starting for Wales in their World Cup opener against the Springboks on Sunday.
"It was tough with the injuries," he said. "But fair play to all the medical staff, everyone has been superb. They said they would do everything to get me here, and they have definitely done that.
"The Wales coaches rang me the next day after the operation and said they were going to do everything possible to try to get me fit. They've been as good as their word."
Exactly where Halfpenny will be utilised during the tournament by Wales boss Warren Gatland remains up for the defeat. He has generally featured as a winger for his country but he was switched to fullback during his comeback game against Argentina last month and there is mounting speculation that he could be given the nod at 15 against the Springboks ahead of the out-of-form Lee Byrne.
Halfpenny, for his part, is unconcerned as to where he is positioned. After his injury nightmare, he just wants to get as much game time as possible on the grandest stage of all.
"It was great to get a chance at fullback for 20-odd minutes against Argentina," he said. "But as long as I get a jersey on and play for Wales, I don't care what position it is."
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