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Lyon confirm the exit of three players, including Lima Sopoaga

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

Former All Blacks utility Lima Sopoaga is on the lookout for a new club after Lyon confirmed that last Sunday’s play-off defeat to Bordeaux was his last appearance for them. The 32-year-old, who won 16 Test caps, arrived in France in 2021 after three years at Wasps, the English club he joined in 2018 from the Highlanders.

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Sopoaga made most of his appearances in 2022/23 off the Lyon bench but was restored to their No10 shirt in recent weeks.

Having led the line well in their end-of-May hammering of Bayonne, which secured a third-place finish and home advantage in the play-offs, Lyon were unable to back up that performance as they were picked off 32-25 last weekend by Bordeaux and lost out on a semi-final spot versus La Rochelle.

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Lyon have now taken to social media to confirm that Sopoaga, along with winger Tavite Veredamu and lock Temo Mayanavanua, is leaving the club.

Veredamu, the French 7s cap, is staying in the Top 14 as he is joining Perpignan while Fijian lock Mayanavanua is heading to Northampton in the English Premiership, but there was no indication of what Sopoaga has lined up next.

Lyon tweeted: “Thank you, Lima. An express integration facilitated by your good humour and your openness to others. During these two seasons, your leadership and your talent will have marked your time in the red and black jersey. We wish you the best for the future.”

Sopoaga had tweeted after last weekend’s Top 14 exit: “Man, that one will hurt a while. Gutted to finish like that and sorry to all our fans. Thank you, Lyon. Special place in my heart.”

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In their farewell to Veerdamu, Lyon tweeted: “Arrived in 2021, you have established yourself as one of the spearheads of the Lyon attack. You were a great craftsman. We thank you for your kindness and your communicative smile on a daily basis. Good luck.”

Regarding Temo, the message was: “Arrived three years ago from New Zealand, you came to live your first European experience at Lyon. Naturally discreet, you were a solid warrior at the service of the collective. Best wishes.”

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