Wales have been dealt a blow less than two weeks before the start of the Rugby World Cup after full-back Leigh Halfpenny was ruled out of the tournament due to knee ligament damage.
Toulon’s Halfpenny suffered the injury during his side’s 23-19 victory over Italy at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday and a scan yesterday confirmed coach Warren Gatland’s worst fears.
“Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny has suffered an ACL injury, ruling him out of the forthcoming Rugby World Cup,” read a Welsh Rugby Union statement. “Leigh will undergo further examination and assessment before further details are announced.”
The 26-year-old has scored 508 points in 62 Tests for his country, a tally only surpassed by Neil Jenkins and Stephen Jones, while British and Irish Lions James Hook and Mike Phillips are potential replacements.
Question marks remain over scrum-half Rhys Webb, who damaged ankle ligaments against Italy and is also rated as a doubt for the World Cup. England face Wales in a Pool A clash on Saturday 26 September.