Halfpenny delaying thoughts on possible summer return to Wales

Leigh Halfpenny
Leigh Halfpenny kicked 17 points in his first game back following his injury

Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny says he has not thought about his playing future beyond this season.

Halfpenny continues his comeback from a serious knee injury this weekend when Toulon host holders Saracens in the European Champions Cup.

The 27-year-old is out of contract next summer and speculation has linked him with a return to Wales.

"I have wanted to completely focus on my rugby and not really think about my future at this point in time," he said.

He continued: "Obviously, I realise that there will be a time when I have to start thinking about that decision, and I am sure that will start in the next couple of months.

"But, right now, I can honestly say I haven't thought about what my decision is going to be for next season.

"I am just focusing on trying to get back to full fitness and trying to improve game on game and put in good performances for Toulon."

Halfpenny spent nine months on the sidelines after rupturing knee ligaments during Wales' final World Cup warm-up game against Italy in September last year.

"The injury was a tough period," Halfpenny added. "The timing of it just before the World Cup was hugely disappointing.

"I've had a few injuries in my career, and it was probably the toughest one I've ever had in terms of the rehab, and getting back to full fitness has been tough.

Leigh Halfpenny on stretcher
Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Webb were both injured in Wales' World Cup warm-up match against Italy

"It was an extremely intense rehab, and the medical and conditioning staff at Toulon and the Welsh Rugby Union were excellent in helping me get back to full fitness.

"I am just enjoying being back playing - I missed it so much. The knee is feeling good. I feel that every game I play it's getting better and better, so it's good to be back.

"I definitely feel like I am not far away from where I was before the injury.

"It took a few games to get back into things, but certainly the last couple of games, I feel like I am getting more back into the rhythm of things and to where I was before the injury."

Halfpenny returned to action for Toulon in the Top 14 semi-finals last June, and he has been a key part of his club's opening seven games this season.

"I have missed playing the game," he said.

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"It's great to be back in amongst it, and this weekend against Saracens is another test for us. They are current European champions, so it is going to be a massive challenge.

"They are a quality outfit, very organised and well-drilled. We have to be at our best on Saturday if we want to get a result.

"For me, it is another step up in intensity. You have got the best teams in Europe going against each other, and teams really lift their game for the tournament.

"Sometimes, I've come off the field or woke up the next morning after a European Cup game, and you feel like you have been in an international match. The intensity is right up there."

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