Lima Sopoaga to leave New Zealand Rugby

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018    Getty Images

The 16-Test All Black announced on his Instagram page today that he has signed a three-year deal with English club Wasps and will leave New Zealand at the end of the Mitre 10 Cup season.


Sopoaga said: “It is with a heavy heart that I announce that my family and I will be leaving NZ at the end of the 2018 season. I have loved every minute of being a professional footballer here in NZ, I’ve made lifelong friends and memories I will cherish forever. I’d like to thank the Highlanders, All Blacks, Southland and Wellington for the awesome experience you have provided me with over the years.”.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “We’re disappointed to be losing Lima but we understand his reasons for leaving. He has been upfront and communicated with us through the process and when he leaves, he and his young family will go with our best wishes. Our job now will be to develop the next player to take his place.”

Sopoaga first made his mark for Wellington as a teenager before moving south in 2014 and starring for Southland at domestic level and the Highlanders in Super Rugby. He was a key part of the Highlanders inaugural Super Rugby title win in 2015 and impressed on All Blacks debut against South Africa later that same year.

Lima Sopoaga fact file:
Born: 3 February 1991
Province: Southland
Super Rugby team: Highlanders
Test debut: v South Africa, 25 July 2015
Tests: 16
Test points: 55 (1t, 16c, 6p)