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Sopoaga's decision to leave NZ


Lima Sopoaga: 'I'm not just playing for myself over here'

The decision to leave the All Blacks dream behind in favour of a lucrative Premiership contract wasn’t easy for Lima Sopoaga, but it was a decision he made for the right reasons.

In a candid interview with The Times, new Wasps flyhalf Sopoaga explained how the contract could change not just his own life, but the lives of those around him.

“To come over here, to uproot my partner [Miriam] and daughter [Milla, aged one] was a very big decision,” he said. “But in the long run, it will be the right one.

“Guys in New Zealand who are second or third string, we’re not getting paid the same as the Beauden Barretts. I fell into that category, I’ve no qualms about it, that’s the way it goes.

“Now, if I’m smart and make the right choices, if I’m not buying stupid cars and stuff like that, this money will be put to good use. Who wouldn’t want that for their family?”

Sopoaga recalled a time when his family struggled with money, and how it’s his duty to repay them.

“Things were tight at home and I can remember times when mum and dad struggled,” the 27-year-old said. “But we got through, our house was filled with love.”

“I’m not just playing for myself over here, it’s about making a better life for my family, making mum and dad’s life a bit easier, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews.”

The 16-Test All Black left New Zealand at the end of the Super Rugby season after seven years with the Highlanders and now plies his trade in Coventry on a two and a half-year deal reportedly worth £1.5m (NZ$3m).

Sopoaga said he has enjoyed watching the All Blacks play from a fan’s perspective and expressed grateitude for the opportunities he had in the jersey.

“If someone had said to me when I was eight years old that I was going to play 16 times for the All Blacks, starting twice, that would have been enough for me. I got to do what many people walking this earth aren’t able to do, that’s to achieve their dreams.”

Sopoaga’s Wasps currently sit third on the Premiership table with a record of four wins and two losses. They are currently in Ireland where they next play Leinster in the opening round of the Heineken Cup.

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Lima Sopoaga: 'I'm not just playing for myself over here'
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