Halfpenny discharged from hospital
Rugby:Wales fullback Leigh Halfpenny has been discharged from hospital after being cleared of a serious injury to his neck following Saturday's 14-12 defeat by Australia in Cardiff. Halfpenny was a standout for his side but was taken from the pitch at the Millennium Stadium by stretcher after failing to stop Kurtley Beale scoring the winning try in the 79th minute.
He complained of neck pain after the match and was taken to hospital for a check-up but was released today after no serious injury was found. He will undergo a period of treatment and rehabilitation ahead of Wales' first Six Nations match against Ireland on February 2nd, where they will attempt to halt a seven-test losing streak.
Mike Phillips required just one word to sum up the Welsh response to a third successive Australian smash and grab raid — devastation. In Melbourne last June, Mike Harris booted a penalty with the game’s final kick to stun Wales 25-23, then seven days later in Sydney a Berrick Barnes penalty after 75 minutes saw Phillips and company beaten 20-19.
Wales have now lost eight games on the bounce against Australia and suffered 20 defeats from 21 appointments with the Wallabies, New Zealand and South Africa since head coach Warren Gatland took charge five years ago. “It was a game we were in control of and it’s very difficult to talk about,” Wales scrum-half Phillips said.
“To lose again in the last minute like that, it’s devastation. We would rather lose by 50 points, I think. But we have got to take it on the chin. We played some outstanding rugby, some of the best we have played this autumn. We played really well. We attacked and defended well, and Australia never threatened our line until the last 30 seconds, which makes it more difficult to take.
“It’s a case of going back to the clubs and regions now, playing well and improving as individuals, and then come back as a squad and defend our (Six Nations) title.”
Even Ryan Jones, a veteran of 70 caps, including a record 29 appearances as Wales captain, struggled to take it all in after the Wallabies followed Argentina, Samoa and New Zealand by completing 22 days of torment for Gatland’s squad. “We have been there before, during the summer,” Jones said. “Fingers crossed, we will never be there again.
“We found ourselves sat there very quiet and disappointed in the dressing room. It was a tough place to be. You put your body on the line for 80 minutes, but sometimes you don’t get the reward you deserve. These are one-score games, and we have to try to nick one of them and kick on from there. We have worked incredibly hard over the last month and got no reward.
“The positives are how this group has grown together this autumn. We have had incredibly bad luck with injuries and stuff, and for the guys to get where they were against Australia is a credit to them. We put in an improved performance last week against New Zealand. We finished that game strongly and we started better against Australia, but we are in the results business, I know.”