Gerald Davies: Leigh Halfpenny can be Wales' attacking spark
RUGBY legend Gerald Davies has revealed his admiration for Wales star Leigh Halfpenny and urges him to develop his game as an attacking full back.
The Cardiff Blues player has been consistently outstanding for his country since winning his first cap as a 19-year-old against South Africa in 2008.
Halfpenny has excelled at No 15 for Wales since moving there from the wing and has also proved himself a superb place kicker.
He showed his mettle when he took over those duties from outside-half Rhys Priestland in Dublin last year, slotting over a difficult last-minute penalty to beat Ireland 23-21 and pave the way for a Grand Slam.
Former wing Davies, who won the Grand Slam three times with Wales in the 1970s, believes Halfpenny is very well suited to his current position.
He also admires his great courage, amply demonstrated twice last year when he was knocked out making last-ditch tackles on England’s David Strettle and Australia’s Dave Dennis.
“I like him as a full back and he is growing into it,” Davies said.
“He’s the smallest player in the team but he’s got a heart that’s bigger than anyone’s, I think. He gives his all every time.”
The 1971 Lions star in New Zealand added: “I like him very much as a player but I’d like to see him gradually move on, gain the confidence that he has got and become a more attacking player.
“Defensively he is very, very good and I’d like to see him develop as an attacking full back and he’s got the potential to do that.
“He is a terrific player with a great attitude, great skill and fantastic courage.”
Davies also urged caution over the way praise is being showered on Eli Walker, but admitted the 20-year-old is an exciting prospect.
The Ospreys wing has been called into the Wales squad for the Six Nations after some impressive displays for his region.
“We need to be very careful,” Davies said. “I think he looks a very good player but people are already giving him high accolades. It’s too early to say.
“He is a player with talent. What he has got is marvelous speed, something you are born with and you can’t create, and that’s a good place for him to be.”
He added: “What I don’t want to do is create something which we don’t know much about at the moment.
“We know he is a good player, we know he is a quick winger but let’s be steady with our compliments.”