Wales legend Leigh Halfpenny has retired from international rugby with immediate effect following his country’s World Cup exit.
The 34-year-old fullback achieved his 100th cap for Wales this year, making him one of only a few players to have achieved such honours. Halfpenny appeared on three British and Irish tours, as well as performing for multiple top level club sides over the years.
Halfpenny released a statement on his retirement, saying:
“After having time to reflect after the Rugby World Cup campaign, it’s with a heavy heart that I’ve decided that it’s time for me to step away from international rugby.
“The decision hasn’t been easy, but the time feels right for me now and I look forward to running out one last time against the Barbarians next week at home.
”It’s been such a huge honour and privilege to put on the Welsh jersey and represent my country over the past 15 years.
“It was a dream as a kid growing up playing for Gorseinon to one day play for Wales and I’ve made the most incredible memories.
”There’s been ups and downs but I will look back on my international career with immense pride, there’s no better feeling running out to a full Principality Stadium wearing the Welsh jersey and singing the national anthem.
”I’m going to miss it, but I will be forever grateful for the opportunities I’ve had and to every single person who has helped me along the way. It’s been unbelievable to play with such special people over the years and I will cherish the friendships I’ve made.”
“I’m excited about this group of players coming through for Wales and what they can achieve in the future. I’m looking forward to supporting the boys from the stands.
”I’d like to say a huge thank you to all of the players, coaches and staff I’ve been fortunate to work alongside; to my family and friends who have been with me through all the ups and downs and to all the fans who have supported me throughout.
“To Jess and the girls, your support and love has meant everything and to be able to have Lily and Nora watching me play for Wales has been one of my proudest moments.”
“Whilst I’lI be moving on from the international game, I’m excited about the next chapter as a player in this game which has given me so much, and look forward to sharing details on my club future soon.
Diolch 🏴🏉 pic.twitter.com/hKZTuwbmFv
— Leigh Halfpenny (@LeighHalfpenny1) October 25, 2023