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Dublin: 7 °C Saturday 15 December, 2018

Major coup for Wasps as three-year deal for All Black out-half is confirmed

Lima Sopoaga has announced he will leave New Zealand later in 2018 and sign for the Premiership side.

LIMA SOPOAGA HAS confirmed that he will leave New Zealand at the end of the 2018 Mitre 10 Cup season to join Wasps.

The out-half, capped 16 times by the All Blacks, announced the news on his Instagram page and will sign a three-year deal with the Aviva Premiership side, according to New Zealand Rugby’s official site.

Sopoaga, who plays for Southland in the Mitre 10 Cup, was part of the Highlanders side that claimed Super Rugby glory in 2015. He made his All Blacks debut later that year against South Africa, scoring 12 points in a 27-20 victory.

“It is with a heavy heart that I announce that my family and I will be leaving NZ at the end of the 2018 season,” Sopoaga wrote on Instagram.

“I have loved every minute of being a professional footballer here in NZ, I’ve made lifelong friends and memories I will cherish forever. I’d like to thank the Highlanders, All Blacks, Southland and Wellington for the awesome experience you have provided me with over the years.”

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said: “We’re disappointed to be losing Lima but we understand his reasons for leaving. He has been upfront and communicated with us through the process and when he leaves, he and his young family will go with our best wishes. Our job now will be to develop the next player to take his place.”

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