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Halfpenny honoured to be in BBC award picture.

Byline: Simon Thomas Rugby correspondent

LEIGH Halfpenny has revealed how honoured he is to have been nominated for Sports Personality of the Year as he looks to complete an incredible 12 months with a Wales victory over Australia. The Lions hero is on a 10-strong short-list for the prestigious BBC award, along with the likes of Wimbledon winner Andy Murray, athletics star Mo Farah and Tour de France champion Chris Froome.

"Obviously, I'm absolutely delighted," said the Blues full-back.

"It's just a huge honour and a privilege to be nominated alongside the other names that have been.

"The people that have been short-listed have had a fantastic year.

"I wouldn't have been nominated if it wasn't for my team-mates, my coaches that I work with throughout the year, for both club and country.

"And the support my family and friends have shown me has been fantastic.

Without all them, I wouldn't have been nominated, so it's a huge thank you to them."

Halfpenny has also been short-listed for IRB Player of the Year, along with All Blacks Kieran Read and Ben Smith, Springbok Eben Etzebeth and Italian icon Sergio Parisse.

That follows his exploits with Wales and the Lions which saw him named Player of the Six Nations and Man of the Series on the Lions' triumphant tour of Australia. Now he will be looking to cap a remarkable 2013 by sharing in a famous Welsh victory at the Millennium Stadium tomorrow.

"For the team, it's huge we finish the year with a win against Australia," he said.

"We've been close many a time, losing by one or two points and it's been hugely frustrating.

"We've been devastated.

The second and third Tests down there last year we came off the pitch feeling we should have won with the rugby we played and we just haven't quite managed to see the game out and lost by a point or two.

"That was gutting and obviously this time last year at home we lost in the last play in the dying seconds and we were massively gutted again. For us now, it's about going out and winning.

"At times, we feel like we've played the better rugby, but haven't quite won the game and that's where we need to go now.

"The next level is beating the southern hemisphere sides and beating the likes of Australia, which is huge."

Asked whether he'd use the hurt of past narrow defeats to the Wallabies as motivation, Halfpenny replied: "You are putting on the Welsh jersey and with that always comes a lot of emotion. Every game for Wales is very emotional.

"Every time you put on that Welsh jersey it's an incredible feeling and you want to do that jersey justice and bring out that emotion and performance.

That's what we are going to do this weekend."

He continued: "When you are playing with your team-mates, the boys you are training with day-in, day-out and working hard for one goal of winning, whether it be Wales or Lions, both are just as satisfying.

"When you win an international match it's a really good feeling.

"Obviously a lot of us experienced beating Australia in the summer. A win this week would feel just as amazing."


during 2013 DAVID DAVIES
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Nov 29, 2013
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