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Wallabies wary of returning Halfpenny

AAP logoAAP 3/11/2016 Joe Barton

Classy Wales fullback Leigh Halfpenny ends a 14-month absence from Test rugby on Saturday, leaving the Wallabies wary of his laser-like boot and Wales dreaming of an attacking masterclass from a revamped back three.

The 27-year-old hasn't played a Test since suffering a serious knee injury against Italy in a World Cup warm-up game in September last year.

Further setbacks pushed back a return date and scratched him from the June series against New Zealand, meaning it will be the Wallabies who will brace for his emotional return.

Halfpenny earned the start in a reshaped back three, alongside powerhouse wingers George North and Alex Cuthbert, following an ankle injury to Liam Williams.

But despite being unable to call on Williams, Interim Wales head coach Rob Howley is noticably chuffed with the tryscoring threats in his backline - which includes the world-class midfield of Jonathan Davies and Jamie Roberts.

"We have three British Lions in the back three, three potent try scorers," he said.

"We're delighted to have them back in ... hopefully our challenge is getting the ball wide into the wide channels for those players to be at their best."

Howley also confirmed Halfpenny would resume goalkicking duties ahead of five-eighth Dan Biggar, and Wallabies coach Michael Cheika needed no reminding of the threat posed by the Toulon star.

"Halfpenny is an excellent attacker and a long-range goalkicker as well," Cheika said.

"He'll give that added weapon too. A fine player with a great track record."

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