British and Irish Lions: Leigh Halfpenny available for 2017 New Zealand tour

Leigh Halfpenny
Leigh Halfpenny was selected for the 2009 and 2013 British and Irish Lions tours

Toulon's Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny has confirmed he will be available for the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand next summer.

Halfpenny, 27, scored 49 points in the Lions' 2-1 series win against Australia in 2013.

There had been doubts whether Halfpenny would be released by Toulon.

But Halfpenny has said the French club will allow him to miss the Top 14 finals to join up with the Lions should he be selected.

"The staff and the president told me that having a player selected with the Lions would be an honour for the club," Halfpenny said.

"We have an agreement with (Toulon president) Mourad Boudjellal. When I extended for this season, it was expected that I be released if I was selected for the British Lions tour."

Halfpenny, who won the Heineken Cup with Toulon in 2015, has scored 508 points in 62 Tests, and was man of the series on the Lions' tour of Australia in 2013.

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The former Cardiff Blues player suffered a serious knee injury during Wales' friendly win over Italy in September 2015 and subsequently missed the Rugby World Cup.

Having also missed this year's Six Nations he had been expected to return in April after having an operation on his knee,

But he suffered a setback which meant he was not considered for Wales' summer tour of New Zealand and remained with Toulon.

Halfpenny made his comeback from injury in Toulon's Top 14 semi-final win over Montpellier in June.