Lima Sopoaga’s hints at playing for Manu Samoa
All Blacks and Highlanders first-five Lima Sopoaga isn't ruling out a switch to represent Samoa in the future as he embarks on his last Super Rugby season before heading to the UK to play for English side Wasps, TVNZ reports.
A change in eligibility rules could see him represent Samoa at the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Speaking to 1 NEWS, Sopoaga didn't rule out potentially representing the nation of his heritage.
"Never say never," Sopoaga said. "I could come back, I could play for Samoa - who knows?"
"Like I said, you can never say never."
Last week, Wasps confirmed the signing of Sopoaga.
The Wellington-born star will join last year’s Premiership runners-up for the 2018/19 season following this season’s Super Rugby championship which kicks-off next month.
Talented playmaker Sopoaga has been capped sixteen-times for his country since making his All Blacks debut against South Africa in July 2015 and has scored 55 points for the World Champions.
Since making his Super Rugby bow for the Highlanders in 2011, the 26-year-old has racked up 74 appearances for the Dunedin-based franchise and amassed 701 points- second on the list of the franchise’s most career points.
He was also a key figure in the Highlanders first ever Super Rugby triumph in 2015.
Sopoaga, who also represents Southland in New Zealand’s Provincial Championship, is also the holder of the Highlanders Seasonal points record, having scored 191 points in 2015.
Clearly delighted to have acquired Sopoaga’s signature, Wasps Director of Rugby-Dai Young, speaking to Wasps’ official website had this to say about his new signing,
“When a world-class fly-half becomes available we jumped at the chance, as that doesn’t happen very often.
“Lima’s track record with the All Blacks, Highlanders and Southland speaks for itself, and we believe he will be an extremely good fit both in our side and within the club”.
Before adding, “A big part of my job is to continually find ways to move things forward, both by developing our current players and when the opportunity arises adding to the squad, and I am confident this signing does this”.
The signing of the All Blacks’ reserve fly-half is a massive coup for the Coventry-based club, with his ability to unlock opposition defences, excellent tactical kicking, and fine distribution skills, sure to be a huge asset for the club.