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Leigh Halfpenny2013 was a stand-out year for Leigh Halfpenny, whose performances on the rugby pitch during the year for Cardiff Blues, Wales and the British & Irish Lions have led to numerous awards and plaudits.

Hailing for Gorseinon, he made his debut for Cardiff Blues as a 19-year old in May 2008 and won his first cap for Wales that autumn. Since then he’s developed into a key member of the Welsh team, playing both on the wing and at his favoured position of full back.

He’s a popular player with fans who admire his whole-hearted, fearless style in defence, his pace in attack and his accurate goal-kicking. He’s won 48 caps for Wales, and has scored 344 points for his country, including 12 tries.

Following up his key role in Wales’s Six Nations Championship Grand Slam in 2012, his goal-kicking proved vital as Wales successfully defended their title in 2013 and he was voted player of the tournament by a public vote. His form meant he was picked for the Lions summer tour to Australia, where he played all three tests matches, scoring 49 points in those games. He was named player of the series, and later donated the prize money he received for that award to charity.

He was named BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year 2013 and came second in the UK version of the award.