All Blacks and Highlanders first five-eighth Lima Sopoaga will leave New Zealand rugby and play in England for Wasps after the Super Rugby seasson.
Twenty-six-year-old Sopoaga’s move would rule him out of contention for the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the All Blacks will lose their back up number 10 behind Beauden Barrett.
New father Sopoaga has signed a three year deal Premiership Rugby club Wasps and will leave New Zealand at the end of the season.
Sopoaga will be joined at Wasps by Hurricances captain and loose-forward Brad Shields who is also heading to the club at the end of this year’s Super Rugby season.
The first five-eighth made his debut for the All Blacks in 2015 after his Super Rugby team the Highlanders won their first title.
Sixteen test All Black Sopoaga confirmed the move on his Instagram account and 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.”