The out-half from New Zealand was one of ex-boss Dai Young’s marquee signings in recent years. However, the emergence of Jacob Umaga this season has led to speculation linking Sopoaga with an end-of-season move away from the Ricoh Arena.
However, despite starting just four Premiership games this term at No10, Sopoaga has impressed off the bench in recent weeks in wins over Saracens and London Irish.
Now he has been included to start for the first time in the league since November, Blackett handing Sopoaga the No15 shirt and a place at full-back.
The All Black is one of four changes to the starting line-up, with lock Charlie Matthews, hooker Tom Cruse and tighthead-prop Kieran Brookes also given the nod to play. Lock Tim Cardall is called up to the replacements while Dan Robson captains the side against his former club.
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“The big thing for us this week is finishing this block off strongly,” said Blackett. “We had a great result against Worcester, it wasn’t the one we wanted at Leicester but we have followed that with two five-point performances so we’re happy and confident and it’s all about trying to finish the week off against Gloucester who will be desperate for a win.
“They’re a great team on paper and that’s the danger because you know at some point they’re going to click and you know they’re going to come back. Yes, we’re gaining confidence, there’s no doubt about that. It’s about keeping that but also keeping our feet on the ground. We have to keep going game by game.”
Wasps (vs Gloucester, Saturday)
15 Lima Sopoaga; 14 Marcus Watson, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Jimmy Gopperth, 11 Josh Bassett; 10 Jacob Umaga, 9 Dan Robson (capt); 1 Ben Harris, 2 Tom Cruse, 3 Kieran Brookes, 4 Charlie Matthews, 5 Thibaud Flament, 6 Brad Shields, 7 Jack Willis, 8 Nizaam Carr. Reps: 16 Gabriel Oghre, 17 Tom West, 18 Biyi Alo, 19 Tim Cardall, 20 Ben Morris, 21 Will Porter, 22 Sam Spink, 23 Paolo Odogwu.
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