Wasps boss Lee Blackett has batted away top-of-the-week speculation linking former All Blacks out-half Lima Sopoaga with a move to Lyon in France for the 2021/22 Top 14 season. Reports from France on Monday claimed that the 30-year-old, who has 16 Test caps, was ready to leave the Gallagher Premiership having joined Wasps from the Highlanders in 2018.
Wasps boss Blackett, though, wasn’t giving anything away about the future of the New Zealander when he appeared at his weekly media conference on Tuesday. “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.”
Sopoaga, who has made 52 appearances for Wasps, was reported by RMC Sport to be ready to join Top14 side Lyon next season. Lyon have been in the market for a new No10 and were linked with Marcus Smith before he agreed to a new deal last week with Harlequins.
Munster’s JJ Hanrahan has also been mentioned as a possible target but RMC claimed that Sopoaga, who has also been linked to the Stormers in South Africa, has always been Lyon’s top target.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 10, 2021
RMC reported that the move is now a done deal with Sopoaga set to arrive for next season on a two-year contract at the club that recently signed ex-All Blacks back row hopeful Jordan Taufua from Leicester Tigers. Sopoaga has been in good form for Wasps this season, playing primarily at full-back, but has blown hot and cold during his time in England.
He recently spoke about how seeing a therapist helped improve his form. “The stigma around talking and opening up as a footie player is starting to come off,” he said. “Rugby players are looked at as these macho, tough dudes, but really, we are just like anyone else. That was one of the best things I have ever done.”
“He's tough as they come and to see the pain on his face you knew it was serious"
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 16, 2021
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now