The Lions: Record-breaker Leigh Halfpenny is happy to miss 007 but not kick No 8

 

Sydney

Leigh Halfpenny missed a kick and a champagne celebration with James Bond, but nothing could detract from the extraordinary achievements of the record-breaking player of the series.

Halfpenny scored 21 points in last night's 41-16 triumph and a total of 49 in the three-match series he did so much to win, but you won't find the full-back bigging himself up. That's why he wasn't in the Lions dressing-room sipping bubbly with Daniel Craig after the victory, because he was among his friends from Gorseinon RFC, draped in a Welsh flag and having pictures taken that will become treasured memories for all concerned. Of course, being Halfpenny, he was annoyed at landing only seven of his eight kicks, blaming over-correction for the wind for the one he missed.

Just a week ago he was feeling pure desperation at having failed with the 50-metre kick that would have clinched the series 2-0 in Melbourne, and he admitted it took two days before he could get out of the kind of dark place that Jonny Wilkinson normally inhabits after a miss.

These wonder kickers are funny sorts, desperately hard on themselves but incredibly calm about situations that the rest of us would consider earth-shattering. Here was the greatest points-scorer in Lions Test history struggling to put into words how he felt about being in the record books of the most famous touring team in the world.

In his softly spoken voice, the 24-year-old travelled back to 1997 and remembered watching the Lions' previous Test series win. He said: "I can't put into words what it means to me because it's everything I dreamt of as a kid growing up watching the Lions tour. I wished I could put on the red jersey and be part of a winning Lions tour like 1997, and now it's happened. It's the best feeling ever.

"I was hugely disappointed in Melbourne because I had the chance to win the series, and it was pretty hard after the game; for a couple of days I was devastated. You don't often get a second chance and so we had to take it in this game.

"I didn't know I had broken the Test series points record and I am thrilled about that, but I can't do my kicking without the superb work of my team-mates. This has been a huge squad effort – it's amazing.

"After Jamie Roberts's try you sensed it was game over. I was able to look around at all the Lions fans, and it was the best time I have ever had on the pitch. I will never forget it, and all the hard work you put in is worth it for this moment.

"I missed James Bond because I was meeting my family and mates from Gorseinon, who had told me to pick my head up and not to be so hard on myself. They know I hate missing kicks."

A Lions jersey will be given to Gorseinon rugby club, but he's holding on to the boots that have turned him into a rugby legend.

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
10 best DSLRs

Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash