Planet Rugby

The British & Irish Lions


Lions retain utmost faith in Halfpenny

01st July 2013 07:47


Leigh Halfpenny

Just short: Leigh Halfpenny

Ace goal-kicker Leigh Halfpenny's failure to land a match-winning penalty against Australia has not dented his team's confidence in him.

The full-back had an opportunity to seal a series win for the British and Irish Lions when he lined up a kick on halfway with the hooter having gone and Australia holding a 16-15 lead in the second Test.

However, the Welshman's effort dropped short, meaning that the series will go into a decider in Sydney on Saturday.

Halfpenny's accurate goal-kicking has been a hallmark of his play for both the Lions and Wales, and his compatriot Dan Lydiate reveals that despite the miss in Melbourne, nobody would question the 24-year-old's ability to make the kick if given a second go.

"It's just one of those things and I'm sure the next time he's in that position he'll slot it," said Lydiate.

"I'd back him every time. Watching that guy train, he trains like a demon and is always doing his extras.

"That's the thing with Leigh, he's a perfectionist and unless he kicks 100% then he's never happy.

"Everyone is going to miss a kick every now and again and [Saturday] was the day. No one is blaming him for missing that kick, it's awesome to have him in the team.

"If we get a penalty that far out, the bet's on that he's probably going to slot it over which is brilliant for us."

Like the second Test, the first Test between the two teams was decided by a shot at goal, with Kurtely Beale's costly miss in Brisbane seeing the Lions take an early advantage in the series. Lydiate is of the opinion that the decider will be just as tight.

"It always goes right down to the wire. There was a kick last week and there was a kick this week on the last play of the game, so it just shows the margins we're playing at," he said.

"You never like to lose and by one point it's hard to swallow, but we've got to dust ourselves off.

"It's a massive week coming up and we're lucky, we've got another chance this week.

"It's just one last effort, we've got to go out all guns blazing and it's one-all so it's just like a one-off Test match now.

"It's going to be a massive game but we've got to just go out there and leave it all on the pitch and make sure there's nothing left in the tank come 80 minutes next Saturday."