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There was not a dry eye in the house when the 53,271 fans packed into the Principality Stadium rose as one in the 65th minute to salute one of Welsh rugby’s all-time greats when Leigh Halfpenny left the international stage for the final time.
After 801 points for his country, 101 caps and 15 years in red, the player Warren Gatland rated as the best defensive full-back in the world in his prime, kicked his fifth-successive conversion. Wales added two more tries after his departure as they finished with a flourish to end their topsy-turvy year with a 49-26 triumph.
“We thought about keeping Leigh on for the full 80 minutes and then allowing him to take the applause at the end, but we decided it would be nicer for him if he came off on his own. It was a very special moment,” said Gatland.
It was also poignant that as he turned to leave the field it was the Barbarians captain Alun Wyn Jones who was the first to shake his ha
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