Halfpenny hails ‘Giants’ of Wales’ backline

Updated: February 24, 2012

Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny is more than comfortable being the small man in Wales’ giant backline, which has been responsible for their side’s six tries in their opening two Six Nations games.

Halfpenny has scored two of those tries in a 30-point haul, including the winning penalty against Ireland.

“It’s comforting to be around such a big backline. They can protect me,” said Halfpenny before facing England.

“I’m a bit smaller but it’s been great to be part of such a special backline. We have got some awesome ball-carriers and they have got plenty of skills as well.”

“We have been together for a while and are really gelling. We are comfortable around each other and we are working well as a unit not just on the pitch, but off the field we are close and have got a good relationship with each other.”

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Halfpenny, 23, has been one of Wales’ many stand-out performers so far in the Six Nations wins over Ireland and Scotland, and has now topped 100 points in international rugby.

They have been impressive victories that have made Wales favourites to beat England – also unbeaten – at Twickenham on Saturday to seal their 20th Triple Crown.

And despite the usual intense build-up that comes with Wales-England clashes, Halfpenny says the anticipation has been given extra spice given that Warren Gatland’s men are going for that Triple Crown.

“The stakes are high in terms of a Triple Crown, which will be fantastic,” added Halfpenny, who will reach 30 Wales caps at Twickenham.

On Wales’ try-scoring clout – three each against Scotland and Ireland – Halfpenny credits the Wales pack for releasing the potent backline.

“They work very hard for us and do tremendous work up front and we reap the rewards then,” he said.

“We work very hard on our skills and finishing and that seems to be paying off.”

Halfpenny has been unchallenged in the full-back berth since Wales beat Ireland in the 2011 Rugby World Cup quarter-final and has become Wales’ designated goal-kicker since the Scotland game – fulfilling a boyhood ambition.

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