Leigh Halfpenny on standby for Wales tour to New Zealand
Toulon’s Leigh Halfpenny was not considered for Wales’ summer tour of New Zealand, according to coach Warren Gatland.
But the full-back could be called up as injury cover if required and provided he proves his fitness.
The 27-year-old has not played since September and was omitted from Gatland’s 35-man tour squad.
Wales coach Warren Gatland has revealed star fullback Leigh Halfpenny could yet be called up for next month’s New Zealand tour
Halfpenny had a second knee operation in early April , though Toulon coach Bernard Laporte has indicated the Lions No.15 could make a return for the French heavyweights by the end of this month.
“We’ve spoken to Leigh and we’ve picked a standby list and he’s part of that,” said Gatland.
“He understands he does need some games and he’s happy to be on a standby list.”
Gatland said he had no discussion with Toulon over releasing Halfpenny after the French club’s owner Mourad Boudjellal said the player would not be paid by the club if he toured with Wales.
“We cross that bridge when we come to it,” added Gatland.
“At the moment there isn’t any issue because Leigh isn’t in the squad.
“One of the great things about Leigh is his priority is to play for Wales.
“We’re conscious of making sure that relationship between the clubs and us will stay as positive as it can be because you don’t want players in the middle of rows between countries and clubs because there’s only one loser in that and that’s the players.”