Byrne: Halfpenny will stay at Toulon

Date published: January 7 2016

Former Wales international Lee Byrne is confident that compatriot Leigh Halfpenny will continue to ply his trade at French giants Toulon.

When his current deal runs out at the end of this season, Halfpenny will have the option to extend for another year and Byrne does not think it will be a difficult decision for him to make. Nevertheless, there has been considerable speculation about what it is that Halfpenny will actually do.

"It's a no brainer for him to stay in Toulon," Byrne told the BBC this week.

"He wasn't in a team photo a few weeks ago so people thought he was going to leave Toulon but it looks like he's maybe had a change of heart," added Byrne.

"People have linked him to the Scarlets but they've got Liam Williams there so that probably wouldn't be the right move either."

There was talk that Halfpenny's decision to play abroad could hamper his international aspirations. However, Byrne thinks he is too valuable a player to disregard, suggesting that should not be a consideration when he makes a decision on the future of his club career.

"It would be great if Leigh came back to Wales but I think his international career is fine if he stays in Toulon," said Byrne.

"I'm sure he's had a conversation with the coaches – he's a massive weapon for Wales in terms of his kicking."

In addition, Byrne thinks that playing at a club of Toulon's stature could actually make Halfpenny an even more valuable player for the Wales national team.

"The vast majority of the players who leave New Zealand or Australia end up in the Top 14," he said. 

"Playing with someone like Ma'a Nonu is going to bring his game on. So there's not a big rush for him to come back. He's winning trophies, he's playing in front of sell-out crowds week-in-week-out and he's being paid a very good salary."