Lions green light for Halfpenny

The Lions have been given a boost after Leigh Halfpenny declared he's available to tour from the outset, even if Toulon make the Top 14 final.

In France the domestic final is scheduled for June 4 but the British and Irish Lions will fly out to New Zealand on May 29, putting full-back Halfpenny in a difficult position as, if selected, he would have had to make the journey on his own and thus play catch-up on the tour.

But it seems the Wales international has been given clearance to leave his club in time for the departure, which he explained on Thursday.

"When we negotiated this year with Mourad Boudjellal, in my contract it says that I will be released if selected for Wales and the Lions," he told Wales Online, with Halfpenny part of the squad that won in Australia in 2013.

"If the Lions and the finals of the Top 14 are simultaneous then I'll miss the end of the season.

"I spoke at length with Mourad Boudjellal and Diego Dominguez (Toulon coach). They told me if I was taken by the Lions they would be proud and honoured to have a player in the selection.

"Personally, I really appreciate that the accepted such a clause in my contract."

He added on his commitment to the club before then: "The Lions is still far away. I am 100% focused on my season with Toulon."