The English Premiership has swooped on another front line All Black with Lima Sopoaga set to announce he has signed with Wasps for the northern 2018/2019 season.
Reports suggest Sopoaga is set to earn in excess of NZD$1 million a season at Wasps, which would be comparable to Kurtley Beale’s Wasps 2-year deal worth $1.5 million a season.
Sopoaga, who has played a critical backup role to starting first five Beauden Barrett, debuted for the All Blacks in 2015 helping guide the side to a 27-20 win over the Springboks.
Since then, the Wellington-raised player has added 15 tests and two matches to his All Blacks total.
The move will come as a blow to the All Blacks as they ramp up their preparations for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, although Richie Mo’unga looks likely to add to his test experience in the coming season.
It is not yet known how long the deal with the English club is for, but New Zealand Rugby will be freshly concerned that another international in his prime is leaving the country well before time.
More to follow…