Leigh Halfpenny: Wales and Scarlets full-back set for November return

Leigh Halfpenny in action against South Africa in the 2019 World Cup semi-final
Leigh Halfpenny in action against South Africa in the 2019 World Cup semi-final

Leigh Halfpenny should be fit for Wales against the Barbarians on 30 November, says Scarlets head coach Brad Mooar.

Full-back Halfpenny, 30, missed the World Cup bronze match against New Zealand after suffering concussion in the semi-final loss to South Africa.

The British and Irish Lion missed five months of last season with concussion, but Mooar says he has recovered.

"I have met with Leigh - he looks good, is bouncy and ready to come back in due course," said Mooar.

"There is no problem. He is taking that wee break to freshen up and get some time with the family. Then he will get into the Barbarians game hopefully and then into the Scarlets."

Halfpenny failed a head injury assessment after the game against the Springboks, which automatically ruled him out of the All Blacks game.

Mooar says the tight tournament schedule in Japan contributed to Halfpenny missing the game against New Zealand.

"If they did not have a five-day turnaround then he would have made it back in that third and fourth game," said the Scarlets coach.

Halfpenny's fitness will be good news for Wales and the Scarlets, with centre Jonathan Davies (knee) and fly-half Rhys Patchell (shoulder) ruled out for six and four months respectively.

Quality will be missed

Mooar is still coming to terms with the loss of two key players from his back division.

"It is a blow," he said. "They are quality men and quality players who have put a big shift in the Welsh programme in the last five months and were excited about coming back.

"These things happen and the [Scarlets] squad is in a position to carry on and do a job as well."

Davies suffered his knee injury in the third World Cup pool game against Fiji and missed the quarter-final victory against France.

However, the Lion returned with the knee heavily bandaged for the matches against South Africa and New Zealand.

Mooar believes Davies was right to play in those two matches.

"When you are in a World Cup and you do everything you can to play then good on him," said Mooar.

"He was doing the right things at the time with all the right information at hand.

"Then as it turns out now what the scans shows is that an operation is needed and that is going to put himself in a better position going forward and fix things up."

Mooar said former England fly-half Ryan Lamb will continue to act as cover for Dan Jones at 10 until at least the end of the year.

Scarlets have no Wales World Cup squad members back for the opening Challenge Cup game against London Irish on Saturday, but could have hooker Ryan Elias and flanker Aaron Shingler available for the trip to Toulon on 22 November.

Hadleigh Parkes, Gareth Davies and Jake Ball, and possibly James Davies, should return for Scarlets in December.

Tonga lock Sam Lousi has also just arrived in Wales after playing in the World Cup in Japan.

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