French media are claiming that there is ‘no longer any doubt’ over Wasps flyhalf Lima Sopaga joining Lyon, a move reported late last week.
Midi Olympique claim that reports from South Africa last week and latterly RMC and Le Progrès in France are accurate and that the All Black will switch clubs for France and Lyon, one of the league’s big spenders. There was plenty of interest in the former Highlanders playmaker, with clubs in France and South Africa among those vying for his signature.
While the two parties are yet to officially sign a contract, they report that the deal is done.
Wasps Director of Rugby Lee Blackett said on Tuesday, when asked about the deal, that: “You’re just going to get that stone-faced remark,” he said. “Look, it’s that time of year. That is the one (response) you are going to get. Let’s go with it’s that time of year and there is a lot of speculation out there.”
Although signed as a flyhalf, the emergence of England prospect Jacob Umaga and more recently Charlie Atkinson has seen Sopoaga increasingly playing at fullback for the Coventry-based side.
Normally an avid Tweeter, Sopoaga has remained quiet on the matter on social media. He was not included in Wasps’ matchday 23 to face Leicester Tigers at Welford Road tomorrow.
The 30-year-old earned 18 caps and scored 61 test during an All Blacks career that started against South Africa in July 2015. An exciting No.10, Sopoaga claimed the Highlanders’ seasonal points-scoring record in 2015 when he amassed 191, and is also second-ranked in the franchise’s history for most career points with 701.
Sopoaga also represented Southland in New Zealand’s Provincial Rugby Championship. He joined them from Wellington in 2014 after scoring all his native province’s points in their 2013 final defeat by Canterbury.
Sopoaga was part of New Zealand’s U20 side that retained the junior IRB World Championship title in 2011, where he appeared alongside back-rower Brad Shields, his now Wasps’ teammate.
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