Leigh Halfpenny defies medics to start new career in New Zealand as team in trouble

Leigh Halfpenny is back in training for Crusaders.

The Wales legend signed for the iconic Super Rugby outfit after his international retirement at the World Cup, and made his first appearance for them against Munster in a pre-season match in February.

But his debut went horribly wrong as Halfpenny tore his pectoral muscle and required surgery that threatened to decimate his entire season. He was given a timeframe of up to four months before he could return to the field of play, with Crusaders fans fearing their new signing wouldn't even make it back before the season's end in June.

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However, in a post made by the club on social media, Halfpenny is back in training and making those high-ball catches that have become synonymous with the Gorseinon man in years gone by. The caption reads: "Great to see Leigh on the grass", with a hint he is returning soon.

It has been two-and-a-half months since Halfpenny sustained the injury, meaning that if he plays in the next few weeks he will have beaten his expected return date - a hugely impressive feat at the age of 35.

The former Wales full-back has only signed a one-year contract, so he'll be champing at the bit to get some game time in Super Rugby. However, despite their legendary status in club rugby, Crusaders are having a nightmare season so far.

The Christchurch-based team, who are the defending Super Rugby champions, have only won once this season, and have lost their other seven games. They are currently bottom of the league table and look unlikely to make the play-offs.

The departure of head coach Scott Robertson and All Blacks star Richie Mo'unga has left a gaping hole in a young side. The club have won the competition two years in a row but won't be repeating the accolade

Welshman Halfpenny will now try to help save some pride going into the latter stages of the league season, once he has fully returned from injury.