Leigh Halfpenny Wales star admits pivotal penalty mistake

The fullback decided he could not go for the posts when given the opportunity to level the match at 16-16 on Saturday at a pivotal moment.

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Scotland's full back Stuart Hogg (C) tackles Wales' full back Leigh Halfpenny (2L) during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Scotland and Wales at Murrayfield in Edinburgh, Scotland on Febuary 25, 2017 play

Scotland's full back Stuart Hogg (C) tackles Wales' full back Leigh Halfpenny (2L) during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Scotland and Wales at Murrayfield in Edinburgh, Scotland on Febuary 25, 2017

(AFP/File)
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Leigh Halfpenny has accepted he made a mistake turning down a penalty-goal chance in Wales's defeat by Scotland that effectively ended their Six Nations title hopes.

The fullback decided he could not go for the posts when given the opportunity to level the match at 16-16 on Saturday at a pivotal moment.

There was confusion at a blustery Murrayfield with Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones indicating to referee John Lacey they were going for the posts only for fly-half Dan Biggar to end up kicking the ball into the corner for an attacking line-out.

Wales made a mess of the set-piece and Scotland went on to win 29-13 in Edinburgh as they recorded their first victory over Wales in a decade.

"For me, I need to hold my hand up. I made a mistake and I wasn't decisive enough," Halfpenny told the Welsh Rugby Union website on Tuesday

"Alun Wyn wanted to go for the three points and I've allowed errors in my game before and the conditions to influence me and turn down the kick," added the usually ultra-reliable Halfpenny, who missed a penalty in the first half that would have extended Wales's lead to 16-6.

"I should have parked those mistakes and moved on.

"In the past I have made errors and not allowed those to effect me and moved onto the next job.

"It's probably the first time it has happened but it's the last time it will."

He added: "The wind really picks up (at Murrayfield) but that shouldn't have an influence on decisions if a kick is in range.

"For me it's a privileged position to be backed to be the kicker, I'm excited to get back out there, get the tee in my hand and go from there."

Jones, a leading candidate to captain the Lions in New Zealand later this year, shed more light on the incident.

"I've motioned to the posts. I'm not a kicker and I thought it was a good shot," he said.

"Obviously Leigh didn't feel the same way hence we've gone to the corner. I had every faith in him, but probably on my part I should have consulted him first."

Should Wales lose both their final two games of this season's Six Nations, against Ireland and France, they would drop to ninth in the world rankings ahead of the 2019 World Cup draw in May.

That could leave them facing another "group of death", just as they did in 2015, when they were paired with England and Australia.

Only the top two teams from each pool go through to the quarter-finals.

Australia and Wales made it into the last eight at England's expense two years ago and Jones is ready to face a similarly tough draw in Japan.

"Whatever happens we will be in a 'group of death',"he said. "We are used to it, but we have to look at games week to week rather than anything beyond that."

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