Halfpenny joins New Zealand's Crusaders

Leigh Halfpenny playing for Wales. Photo by Ian Cook - CameraSport via Getty Images

Former Wales fullback Leigh Halfpenny has joined Super Rugby Pacific champions the Crusaders on a one-year deal for 2024 after announcing his international retirement in the wake of his third World Cup campaign.

The 34-year-old will bring maturity and world class place-kicking to the Christchurch-based outfit, who lost regular kicker Richie Mo'unga after the All Blacks flyhalf signed for Japanese club Toshiba Brave Lions for next season.

"I've always watched Super Rugby and the Crusaders are the team I've always followed".

Halfpenny, who played his last game for Wales against the Barbarians at the weekend, said in a news release.

"I've always loved the time I've spent in New Zealand on tour."

"It's a passionate rugby nation and I've always been made to feel very much at home there."

"My family and I are very excited about the move."

Although Halfpenny won most of his 105 test caps for Wales and the British and Irish Lions at fullback, he told New Zealand media he was up for a switch to flyhalf if the need arose.

"Fullback is where I play, where I enjoy playing. But wherever I get the opportunity to put the jersey on, I'm happy," Halfpenny said.

"To play 10 and challenge myself there would be exciting as well, and I certainly would be welcome to that opportunity if it presented itself."

The Crusaders begin their bid for a third consecutive Super Rugby Pacific title against the Waikato Chiefs in Hamilton on Feb. 23 in a re-match of last year's final.