Sopoaga to leave New Zealand for Wasps
Lima Sopoaga has confirmed that he will leave New Zealand at the end of the 2018 Mitre 10 Cup season to join Wasps.
The fly-half, capped 16 times by the All Blacks, announced the news on his Instagram page and will sign a three-year deal with the Premiership side, according to New Zealand Rugby's official site.
Sopoaga, who plays for Southland in the Mitre 10 Cup, was part of the Highlanders side that claimed Super Rugby glory in 2015.
He made his All Blacks debut later that year against South Africa, scoring 12 points in a 27-20 victory.
"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," Sopoaga wrote on Instagram.
"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."
It's with a heavy heart that I announce that my family and I will be leaving NZ at the end of the 2018 season. It was one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make but is one I'm at peace with. I have loved every minute of being a professional footballer here in NZ, I've made life long friends and memories that I'll cherish forever. I'd like to thank the Highlanders, All Blacks, Southland and Wellington for the awesome experiences you have provided me with over the years. Thank you to all the fans for your support it's been one heck of a ride. To my team mates and coaches over the years thank you for everything, I've been blessed to have met so many top men. Last but not least to my family & friends you know who you are the ones who have stood by me through the lowest of lows and the highest of highs you have seen both the valleys and the peaks, THANK YOU will never be enough! So here's to 2018 one last roll of the dice before I head off to experience life on the other side of the world. I'm ready. TheSops LS10
"We're disappointed to be losing Lima but we understand his reasons for leaving," added All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.
"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."