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‘I’d love it back’: Lima Sopoaga’s plea as kicking tee saga rages on

By Finn Morton
Lima Sopoaga of Samoa poses for a portrait during the Samoa Rugby World Cup 2023 Squad photocall on September 05, 2023 in Montpellier, France. (Photo by Adam Pretty - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Samoa playmaker Lima Sopoaga has issued another heartfelt plea as the former All Black continues to go without his beloved kicking tee that’s “been around the world.”

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This is a story that many can relate to. Whether you cherish a teddy bear, a blanket or even a goal-kicking tee, some people continue to treasure childhood items well into their adult life.

Sopoaga, now 32, has owned the rugby accessory for about 18 years. From Wellington College to the All Blacks, and even at stints with clubs in Europe, the tee has joined Sopoaga for the ride.

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Playing in Bordeaux last weekend, Sopoaga brought the tee to the stadium ahead of his Rugby World Cup debut. Samoa went on to win 43-10 over Chile but the flyhalf was left feeling hurt.

“Could whoever took my goal-kicking tee from the field please give it back to me,” Sopoaga wrote on September 16th. “I’ll even pay you for it. I’ve had it since I was 14 years old.”

With 984 reposts, 4,874 likes and more than 973,500 views on X at the time of writing, rugby fans from around the world emphasised with Sopoaga, who even offered to pay for the tee.

Fans have gotten behind Sopoaga in an incredible way, but unfortunately, their efforts have been in vain so far. The Samoan flyhalf is still yet to be reunited with his prized possession.

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Sopoaga didn’t play against Argentina in a decisive World Cup clash in Saint-Etienne on Friday due to a calf injury, but the experienced flyhalf still stopped for a moment to talk.

Points Flow Chart

Argentina win +9
Time in lead
74
Mins in lead
0
91%
% Of Game In Lead
0%
42%
Possession Last 10 min
58%
3
Points Last 10 min
7

Standing about a metre away from the Sopoaga, it was impossible not to sympathise with the former New Zealand international as he provided an update on the goal-kicking tee saga.

“F*** me whoever’s got it just give the **** back,” Sopoaga told RugbyPass on Friday. “Nah, I haven’t (got it back). I’d love it back aye, honestly, I’d love it back.

“I’ve had a few nice people reach out and offer their kicking tees which are kind of the same. I’ve got a friend in the UK, Alex, he sent me his one which is used which is the same.

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“I’ve had it since I was 14. As a little 14-year-old kid just had to find what was out there and at the time it was that and it’s just stuck with me ever since,” Sopoaga added.

“That’s why it’s got the black tape around it, it’s been through the wars. It’s been around the world with me, mate, it’s like a baby’s little doudou.

“I’d rather forget my rugby boots than my goal-kicking tee, but maybe it is what it is and we’ve just got to get on with it you know.”

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