Six Nations 2020: Leigh Halfpenny says Wales can still win title


Leigh Halfpenny celebrating the 2013 victory over England in Cardiff
Guinness Six Nations: Wales v France
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 22 February Kick-off: 16:45 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One Wales, BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru, text commentary on BBC Sport website and app.

Full-back Leigh Halfpenny believes the Wales class of 2020 can emulate the 2013 side by winning the Six Nations after losing an early game.

Seven years ago Wales won the tournament despite losing the opening game against Ireland.

Following defeat in Dublin last weekend, Wales have remaining matches against France, England and Scotland.

“We did it in 2013 after losing our first game at home to Ireland and winning the rest,” said Halfpenny.

The British and Irish Lions Test player added: “It is not all over. We are still in the hunt and have to focus game by game. We have to win our next three games to have a chance.

“We have lost one game and we are hurting from that. We were disappointed in Ireland and want to put that right at home to France in front of our fans.

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“We have to win every game now and that is the challenge. We are hugely excited about that, but have to put in a performance against France.”

The third Six Nations weekend will prove pivotal with Wales hosting unbeaten France on 22 February and England entertaining Ireland the following day.

Only France and Ireland can complete the Grand Slam with Wales and England having one win each from their first two games.

Wales will have a reunion with former defence coach Shaun Edwards who has now linked up with France.

“He is a great coach to work with and what he did for Welsh rugby was fantastic,” said Halfpenny.

“Working with Shaun brought my defensive game on immensely. He worked with me a lot and improved me. You had to adapt and I kept working on it.

Leigh Halfpenny has scored 788 points in 91 internationals for Wales and the British and Irish Lions

“He taught me a huge amount about the game and I have a lot to thank him for.

“It will be weird facing him, but that is rugby; time moves on. It is exciting to be going up against his defensive style.

“France are a hugely exciting team across the park.

“Shaun being there will bring them structure in defence and we know how teams found it difficult to break us down.

“That is the challenge for us, identifying opportunities where we can break down their system and that is what we are working on.

Halfpenny is out of contract at the end of the season at Scarlets while Wales rival Liam Williams rejoining them from Saracens.

The 30-year-old has remained tight-lipped on his future, but says he is enjoying his rugby.

“Last season was a shame because of injury, but I am over that now,” said Halfpenny.

“I am enjoying being out there. It was different when I was out with the head injury and I am hugely grateful to be back.

“I am still looking to improve and have things to work on. Having a daughter is very special and I am loving being a dad; it puts everything into perspective.”

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