Wales star Leigh Halfpenny insists he has not thought about his playing future beyond this season as he prepares to enter the European Champions Cup arena on Saturday.Halfpenny will be an integral part of Toulons bid to claim an opening weekend win against European champions Saracens at Stade Mayol, continuing his comeback from a serious knee injury that meant he missed the entire 2015 World Cup.The 27-year-old is out of contract on the Cote dAzur next summer, with speculation rife that the former Cardiff Blues fullback could return to Wales.Since the injury last year, I have just wanted to completely focus on my rugby and not really think about my future at this point in time, Halfpenny said.Obviously, I realise that there will be a time when I have to start thinking about that decision, and I am sure that will start in the next couple of months.But, right now, I can honestly say I havent thought about what my decision is going to be for next season.I am just focusing on trying to get back to full fitness and trying to improve game on game and put in good performances for Toulon.Halfpenny spent nine months on the sidelines after rupturing knee ligaments during Wales final World Cup warm-up game against Italy in September last year.On a dark day for Wales, they also saw scrum-half Rhys Webb carried off injured and ruled out of the tournament, but both players are now back and firing and set to be named in interim head coach Rob Howleys autumn Test squad next week.The injury was a tough period, Halfpenny added. The timing of it just before the World Cup was hugely disappointing. Ive had a few injuries in my career, and it was probably the toughest one Ive ever had in terms of the rehab, and getting back to full fitness has been tough.It was an extremely intense rehab, and the medical and conditioning staff at Toulon and the Welsh Rugby Union were excellent in helping me get back to full fitness.I am just enjoying being back playing -- I missed it so much. The knee is feeling good. I feel that every game I play its getting better and better, so its good to be back. I definitely feel like I am not far away from where I was before the injury.It took a few games to get back into things, but certainly the last couple of games, I feel like I am getting more back into the rhythm of things and to where I was before the injury.Halfpenny returned to action for Toulon in the Top 14 semifinals last June, and he has been a key part of his clubs opening seven games this season.I have missed playing the game, he said. Its great to be back in amongst it, and this weekend against Saracens is another test for us. They are current European champions, so it is going to be a massive challenge.They are a quality outfit, very organised and well-drilled. We have to be at our best on Saturday if we want to get a result. Ever since I have been involved in the Heineken Cup or Champions Cup, there has been that buzz in the build-up to the tournament.For me, it is another step up in intensity. You have got the best teams in Europe going against each other, and teams really lift their game for the tournament.Sometimes, Ive come off the field or woke up the next morning after a European Cup game, and you feel like you have been in an international match. The intensity is right up there. http://www.jetsrookiestore.com/Jets-Lac-Edwards-Jersey/ .C. - The Carolina Hurricanes have placed backup goalie Anton Khudobin on injured reserve with an unspecified lower-body injury. http://www.jetsrookiestore.com/Jets-Wesley-Walker-Jersey/ . 4 Villanova with a 96-68 drubbing on Monday. Wragge hit 9-of-14 from behind the arc, matching Kyle Korvers school record for 3-pointers in a game set in 2003, as Creighton (16-3, 6-1 Big East broke a conference record with 21 treys in the rout. http://www.jetsrookiestore.com/Jets-Brian-Winters-Jersey/ . Just not the game. Kyle Palmieri scored two straight goals in the third period to rally the Anaheim Ducks past the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 on Tuesday night. http://www.jetsrookiestore.com/Jets-Keyshawn-Johnson-Jersey/ . Barcelonas entertaining victory ensured the defending Spanish champions retained their share of the league lead with Atletico Madrid two rounds ahead of their meeting in the capital. Real Madrid needed a late goal by substitute Jese Rodriguez to earn a 3-2 victory at Valencia to stay in third place and three points behind its title rivals. http://www.jetsrookiestore.com/Jets-Morris-Claiborne-Jersey/ . Vaives lawyer Trevor Whiffen claims the former 50-goal man wasnt provided with a copy of the claim beforehand and that he would not have agreed to the allegations made against the NHL had he been asked to review its contents. (STATS) -- Although Northern Iowa appears to be well positioned on the offensive side of the ball, Mark Farleys squad has some concerns defensively heading into its season opener at Iowa State on Saturday night.The fifth-ranked Panthers have brought back last seasons leading tackler Jared Farley and sackmaster Karter Schult, but only four other starters returned. They were certainly hit hardest in the secondary, where theyre grooming a new group after losing Deiondre Hall (Chicago Bears) and Makinton Dorleant (Green Bay Packers) to the NFL.We lost three-year starters at the two corners as well as our safeties, so we lost experience players, let alone talented players, said Farley, who is one win away from becoming the schools all-time leader with 130. Its hard to get two corners in the NFL, and right now we have two who are doing quite well. So we have our work cut out (for us) there.The Cyclones, however, are expected to establish the running game first and foremost under new coach Matt Campbell, who replaced Paul Rhoads after the program went six straight seasons without a winning record. Campbells Toledo team led the MAC with 207.9 rushing yards per game last season and Iowa State hopes to emulate that success behind Mike Warren, a star running back who led all freshman with 1,339 yards in 2015.The Panthers are no strangers to the hostile environment that awaits them in Ames. They played in front of a Jack Trice Stadium record-tying 61,500 in a 31-7 loss to the Cyclones in last seasons opener. Quarterback Aaron Bailey had 114 passing yards and 85 on the ground in that contest as Northern Iowa lost for the third time in the last four meetings.Farley insists the Panthers, who finished 9-5 in 2015, are getting ready for the rivalry just as they would any other game.Weve played them enough that I dont see any other difference between other games that we prepare for, he said. The mindset is very similar, but there is more of a spotlight on this game for more of the people surrounding the state.Bailey, running back Tyvis Smith and receiver Daurice Fountain are a big reason why the Panthers enter the season with some lofty expectations. Bailey threw for 1,656 yards and ran for another 1,334 in 2015, while Smith had 1,079 rushing yards and seven scores and Fountain finished with 41 receptions for 604 yards and five TDs.Theyll try to find the holes in an Iowa State defense that hopes to show improvement with eight starters back on a unit that ranked 107th in the nation with 453.4 yards allowed per game.I know what we are, Farley said. I know what we can be. I just dont know what we are today. That will show up (at Iowa State).NEW FACES IN NORMALStars Marshaun Coprich and Tre Roberson may have moved on, but coach Brock Spack insists theres still plenty of offensive firepower at Illinois State.The 10th-ranked Redbirds will show off their new backfield at Hancock Stadium on Saturday night when they open the season against Valparaiso.Coprich rushed for 1,967 yards and 23 touchdowns on the way to back-to-back MVFC Offensive Player of the Year honors, while Roberson threw for 2,225 yards and 18 TDs and ran for another 777 yards and 11 scores. They helped Illinois State (10-3) reach the national quarterfinals after winning the MVFC co-championship for the second straight season.Now, the Redbirds are turning to redshirt sophomore quarterback Jake Kolbe and a committee of running backs, which could be led by freshman James Robinson.Kolbe, a highhly recruited prospect out of Naperville Central, completed 26 of 40 passes for 264 yards with two TDs and one interception in six games last season.dddddddddddde have a plethora of things we can do. When we had Tre here, we could do double and triple option and Kolbe is no different from that standpoint, Spack said. He can run the same stuff out of the gun that we did with Tre. Hes a better athlete than people think and makes good decisions.I dont know if we have a guy who can take a game over like Coprich did, but I guess well find out.Spacks new playmakers should be able to ease into things against the Crusaders, who welcome 12 starters back from a team that finished 1-9 in 2015. Valparaiso has only reached the four-victory mark once since 2007.Kolbes should take comfort in having All-American receiver Anthony Warrum at his disposal. The senior is looking for more after setting a school single-season record and leading the MVFC with 15 receiving touchdowns. He also ranked second in the league with 1,290 yards on 58 receptions.With six starters returning, Spack also believes the Redbirds will be much better on defense after ranking 53rd in FCS with 374.8 yards allowed per game.Theyll have to keep a close watch on junior quarterback Ryan Clarke, who threw for 980 yards and 10 touchdowns -- including five in the lone win at Davidson -- in his eight games last season. Clarkes top two receiving targets, junior Frank Catrine and sophomore Jean Rene, teamed for nearly 900 yards and eight scores.In the first meeting between the schools since 1948, Illinois State seeks its 20th win in the past 21 home games. The Redbirds also have won seven straight openers at Hancock Stadium.TOUGH TEST FOR JACKRABBITSEighth-ranked South Dakota State should find out what its made of right away Saturday night when it visits TCU, the nations No. 13 team in FBS.The Jackrabbits stunned Kansas in last seasons opener, 41-38, en route to an 8-4 record and fourth straight playoff appearance. Now theyll get their first look at the high-scoring Horned Frogs, who finished 11-2 after rallying from 31 points down for a 47-41, triple-overtime win over Oregon in the Alamo Bowl.South Dakota State is led by junior wide receiver Jake Wieneke, who has been a two-time first-team all-league pick. Wieneke finished with 72 catches for a single-season league record 1,472 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns last season, earning All-America honors for the second year in a row. Tight end Dallas Goedert also was recognized on STATS FCS Preseason All-America Team after hauling in 26 receptions for 484 yards in 2015.Kenny Hill, a former Texas A&M starter, will make his TCU debut as the Horned Frogs try to extend the fifth-best streak in FBS by winning their 15th straight home opener. They welcome back 2015 sacks leader Josh Carraway and stud defensive end James McFarland after he missed last season because of a broken toe.South Dakota State coach John Stiegelmeier says this could be the best team his program has ever faced.TCU is different than other teams weve played, the 20th-year coach said. Well see more skill and speed from them. (But) I told our players that were not going down there for a track meet. ... We have to go and play our best football. Theres no doubt theyre going to be faster -- and theyre at home -- but were really looking forward to it. 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jcy123, 26.09.2018 08:50