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Pienaar: Halfpenny the key to Wales autumn

Guinness PRO12 Editor

5 Nov 2012

Ruan Pienaar believes Cardiff Blues full-back Leigh Halfpenny’s right boot holds the key to Wales having a successful autumn campaign.

Despite the Blues having endured a difficult start to their RaboDirect PRO12 season Halfpenny remains a shoe-in for the Welsh full-back and kicking berths.

Since he took over the kicking duties from a stuttering Rhys Priestland during last year’s Six Nations the 23-year-old has barely looked back – ending the summer Tests in Australia with a 94 percent success rate.

Ulster’s Pienaar has first-hand RaboDirect PRO12 experience of the Blues star and believes Wales will need him to come to the party if they are to enjoy a fruitful autumn campaign against Argentina, Samoa, New Zealand and Australia.

“In Test rugby you need to kick every point you can and Wales are very lucky to have Leigh Halfpenny,” said Pienaar.

“He kicks the ball a long way and has proved that he can slot them over from anywhere in pressure situations and that gives a boost to his teammates and also worries the opposition.

“His kicking is going to be massively important this autumn because there will be some tight games and having the ability to keep the scoreboard ticking is key.”