Lions full-back Halfpenny to make long-awaited Super Rugby debut

rugby01 May 2024 06:40| © AFP
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Leigh Halfpenny © Getty Images

British and Irish Lions full-back Leigh Halfpenny will make his long-awaited Super Rugby debut on Saturday after Crusaders named him in their starting line-up following three months out with a chest injury.

The 35-year-old former Wales international needed surgery after damaging a pectoral muscle in February on a pre-season tour to Ireland.

He has recovered quicker than expected and will start against Reds in Christchurch.

"Leigh now gets an opportunity at Super Rugby and he's excited about that," Crusaders head coach Rob Penney told reporters Wednesday.

"He's been training the house down for the last few weeks. He deserves the right to slip into that number 15 jersey."

Halfpenny joined the Crusaders last year after retiring from international rugby. He made 101 appearances for Wales, scoring 801 points, and also won four caps for the British and Irish Lions.

Crusaders, the defending Super Rugby champions, thumped Melbourne Rebels 39-0 in Christchurch last week.

But they remain outside the play-off spots in 10th after five straight defeats at the start of the season.

Lock Scott Barrett will captain the Crusaders against the Reds with fellow All Black David Havili switching from centre to fly-half.