Edwards - Halfpenny the full shilling
Shaun Edwards says Leigh Halfpenny is the key factor behind Wales' bid for Grand Slam glory.
Last Updated: 02/03/12 3:34pm
Shaun Edwards has singled out the "absolutely sensational" form of full-back Leigh Halfpenny as being a key factor behind Wales' push for RBS Six Nations title and Grand Slam glory.
By his own admission, tough taskmaster Edwards would prefer not to highlight an individual player's contribution by naming him publicly.
But he is happy to make an exception in 23-year-old Halfpenny's case after he played pivotal roles during victories over Ireland, Scotland and England to help secure Wales the Triple Crown.
Halfpenny kicked a match-winning conversion in Dublin, scored two tries against Scotland among a 22-point haul, then added another 14 points at Twickenham before his stunning try-saving tackle on England wing David Strettle not only left the Welshman dazed, but also denied their opponents a chance to tie an enthralling encounter.
The Cardiff Blues star has amassed almost two-thirds of Wales' 69 Six Nations points so far this season. With two games left, he could threaten Neil Jenkins' Wales tournament record of 74, set in 2001.
"As a coach you try not to single out players," Wales defence specialist Edwards said.
"But I am sorry, I have to single out Leigh Halfpenny because he has been absolutely sensational.
"That tackle at the end against England just showed how conscientious he is about his roles and his jobs. He is a complete professional at the moment.
"Another piece of play summed him up as well.
"When (England fly-half) Owen Farrell chipped over the top, Leigh did a big hit on him, then he was involved in the next tackle and he then ran virtually 50 yards to catch Owen Farrell's next chip ahead, which would have been a try otherwise.
"That shows what sort of shape he is in."