Ford: Wales wildcard not a factor for Halfpenny

Updated: 

Mike Ford has held "positive" talks with Leigh Halfpenny and the Toulon boss has urged the full-back not to make Wales selection a key factor when he decides where his future lies.

Halfpenny's contract is due to expire at the end of the season and there is no shortage of interest in the British and Irish Lion.

Only four players who ply their trade outside of their homeland are eligible for 'wildcard' selections to represent Wales as of next season, which could be a factor in Halfpenny's decision.

Ford said the former Cardiff Blues back should not fret over that as he ponders whether to stay put at the Top 14 giants or seek pastures new.

"I've told Leigh that he doesn't want to make the wildcard his decision. What he wants to do is go to an environment where he thinks he can get better," said the former Bath head coach.

"If that environment is Toulon and we can make him a better player then that's all he needs to worry about because Wales will pick him, wildcard or not."

The Englishman added: "We want him for next year and the conversations I've had with him have been positive.

"He's going to take the Christmas period to make his mind up.

"He's not playing in the next game, he's going on holiday. He's going come back in after Christmas and we expect some sort of decision then."

Halfpenny kicked four penalties, but missed twice from the tee late on as Toulon suffered a 22-21 defeat at Scarlets in the European Champions Cup Pool Three on Sunday.