Sopoaga named for British Lions series

Thursday June 08, 2017 Written by Published in Rugby Union

Lima Sopoaga is set to make his All Blacks return after being named in the New Zealand side to play Samoa and the British and Irish Lions.

 

Sopoaga, who has maternal links to the Cook Islands, has earned six Test caps for the All Blacks since making his debut in 2015.

The 26-year-old Highlanders pivot missed out of the 2015 Rugby World Cup but managed to fight his way back into the All Blacks in the Steinlager series against Wales last year.

He was not considered for the Rugby Championship last year.

Sopoaga did not have the best start to the 2017 Super Rugby season after picking up an injury that kept him away from the competition for two months.

According to allblacks.com, the Wellington-born and raised, Sopoaga accepted an offer from the Highlanders in 2011 and moved south where he has become a key member of the team.

The same year, he was part of the New Zealand Under-20 team’s Junior World Championship-winning campaign in Italy.

“Having made his ITM Cup debut with the Wellington Lions as a teenager he shifted to the Southland Stags in 2014 after 37 matches. Injuries affected his 2012 and 2013 Super Rugby seasons, but in 2014 and 2015, regular game time suited the young playmaker along with time spent outside All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith, and Sopoaga built a reputation for taking the ball to the line, and for creating exciting opportunities for his powerful wings.”

Meanwhile the All Blacks will take on Samoa next Friday and the Lions in the series opener on June 24. 

All Blacks: Beauden Barrett, Jordie Barrett, Scott Barrett, Sam Cane, Dane Coles, Wyatt Crockett, Ryan Crotty, Aaron Cruden, Israel Dagg, Charlie Faumuina, Owen Franks, Nathan Harris, Rieko Ioane, Jerome Kaino, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Ngani Laumape, Anton Lienert-Brown, Joe Moody, Waisake Naholo, TJ Perenara, Kieran Read (captain), Brodie Retallick, Luke Romano, Ardie Savea, Julian Savea, Aaron Smith, Ben Smith, Lima Sopoaga, Liam Squire, Codie Taylor, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Sam Whitelock, Sonny Bill Williams.

 

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