Rugby star Leigh Halfpenny has opened up on his struggle to learn French – and, as a proud Welshman, how he regrets not being able to speak Welsh.
The Toulon full back, who has endured a difficult start to life in France since joining the club earlier this year, said he only realised his regret after leaving the country of his birth.
The 25-year-old kicking ace has also admitted that he has found life in France to be difficult, off the field, especially trying to pick up a new language.
“It is a lot harder than I imagined it would be to pick up,” he said.
“I’ve got set phrases to learn every day that get me through.”
He added: “It struck me the other day that I am from Wales and I speak French and English. As a proud Welshman I am ashamed to say I don’t speak Welsh and that is something I will try to rectify.”
Halfpenny hasn’t set foot on the field of play for his new club Toulon because of a groin injury, but returned to training last week and could make his debut for the European champions at Toulouse a week on Sunday.
Speaking to the Independent he said: “Toulon is a port, the home of the French fleet.
“There is only one sport in Toulon and that is rugby and you are expected to win every game.
“If Toulon are at home, it is the main event not just of the weekend but the week. When you get to the ground you see fans packed outside the stadium two or three hours before, it’s like an international.
“I’ve never seen anything like it; it’s unique.”