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Defeated Blues look set to miss out on Wales star Halfpenny


CARDIFF Blues were defeated 12-6 by the Ospreys in Swansea, amid mounting speculation Leigh Halfpenny has rejected a move back to the Arms Park.

The 62 times capped Welsh international is widely thought to be departing European champions Toulon at the end of the season, in favour of a move back to the UK.

The Blues had been hoping that they could lure their former player back to the capital city on a national dual contract, with Danny Wilson’s side having first refusal on the player under the terms of the Rugby Services Agreement.


Wanted man: Leigh Halfpenny


However, reports have surfaced that should Halfpenny return to Wales it will be to the Scarlets, who can offer the 26-year-old Champions Cup rugby, along with the added bonus of being based just 15 minutes away from his Gorseinon home.

Despite a concerted push by the WRU to bring home one of Welsh rugby’s genuine superstars, wealthy Aviva Premiership outfit Wasps are firm favourites for his signature.

Failure to sign Halfpenny would be a severe blow to the Blues, who may find it difficult to attract quality players given their lowly league position and a lack of Champions Cup rugby.

However, Saturday’s 12-6 Pro 12 defeat to the Ospreys did provide a glimmer of hope for Blues supporters.

After the positive decision to cut the size of the playing roster in order to create a squad based on quality over quantity, the Blues have seen some positive performances from some of their Wales age grade contingent.

Hooker Ethan Lewis was very prominent after coming on in the second half on Saturday, whilst the performances of teenage fly half Jarrod Evans have been promising.

Head coach Danny Wilson was optimistic about the potential of some of the younger players in his squad.

“Ethan’s an example of a young Cardiff Blues player that we need to give exposure to, and we need to be patient with and they will come through”, said Wilson.

“It’s a great experience for Jarrod.

“There’s definitely bits for him to improve on, but I though his first half defensive display, and getting some of our attack going in the second half was a credit to him.

“We’ve made no secret it’s about us managing the short term and the long term.

“In the long term we will build a squad here that will be more than competitive, and we will improve our league position over the long haul.”

The Blues started Saturday’s encounter brightly with Jarrod Evans converting a penalty to put the Blues ahead by three points after eight minutes.

In what was a dour spectacle, the Ospreys had the lion’s share of possession in the first half, but a lack of creativity and an improved Blues defensive effort meant the Blues went in 0-3 ahead at the interval.

scrum ospreys

Blues scrum dominance

The Blues started the second half in the same manner as the first with Evans landing a penalty to double the Blues’ lead to 0-6.

After a sustained period of pressure the Ospreys finally broke down the visitors’ defence when skipper Alun Wyn Jones crashed over for a try on 57 minutes, which Sam Davies converted to put the Ospreys 7-6 ahead.

Despite the dominance that the Blues held in the scrum they were not able to take advantage, with Davies converting a penalty on 69 minutes following a Blues infringement at the breakdown.

As the Blues ran out of steam, the last ten minutes saw the Ospreys pack take control, with Davies landing a further penalty to consign the Blues to a narrow 13-6 defeat.