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Former All Black Lima Sopoaga on his attempt to switch allegiances

By Sam Smith

Trending on RugbyPass

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Former All Blacks first five Lima Sopoaga has revealed he attempted to make a switch of international allegiances like his former Highlanders and Wasps teammate Malakai Fekitoa.

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Despite Tonga not reaching the Olympic finals in Sevens, Fekitoa turned out for the side during a qualifying event recently in Monaco which completed the required number of games to complete his allegiance switch the nation of his birth.

Speaking to James Marshall on the What A Lad podcast, Sopoaga revealed he had plans to join Fekitoa on the Sevens circuit in order to switch his allegiance to Samoa, who he has expressed a desire to play for in the past.

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“I tried to do the switch like Malakai,” Sopoaga told What a Lad podcast.

“He played in Monaco and I wanted to be a part of that with the sevens set-up.”

Sopoaga had tried to make his schedule work but he was unable to move his booking for a quarantine space in New Zealand on returning from the UK, saying it became a step too far.

“It just didn’t work out, because, in my voucher [for return to New Zealand] was for the 16th of June and we couldn’t get it moved so that me and my whole family could come back. We had already booked our flights. We couldn’t book it in my voucher for all of us.

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“They could book one for just me, that was flying from the UK into New Zealand for two weeks quarantine, it was just a step too far.

“That’s three kids, there and under that’s tough. I couldn’t do that to her [Sopoaga’s wife], I really wanted to, I had to put my family first in that situation, it was just unfortunate that was the way that it happened and I couldn’t get back home into the country.”

The 30-year-old said he still harbours an ambition to ‘help out Samoa’ by completing a switch of allegiance in the future despite not being able to do it this year.

“I am keen to try and help out Samoa and play for them,” he added.

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The flyhalf will move to the Top 14 with French club Lyon next season after three seasons with Wasps in the Premiership.

After 16-caps for the All Blacks, he announced he was leaving New Zealand after the 2017 Super Rugby season to join the English club.

 

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Former All Black Lima Sopoaga on his attempt to switch allegiances

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