Lima Sopoaga with the Highlanders in 2016
|Full name||Lima Zachariah Sopoaga|
|Date of birth||3 February 1991|
|Place of birth||Wellington, New Zealand|
|Height||1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|Weight||91 kg (14 st 5 lb; 201 lb)|
|Notable relative(s)||Tupou Sopoaga (Brother)|
|Rugby union career|
|New Zealand No.||1145|
His family comes from Samoa and the Cook Islands. Sopoaga is the oldest among six siblings. His younger brother, Tupou Sopoaga, currently plays for the Penrith Panthers in the NRL. In his high school days, Sopoaga attended Wellington College and won four local championships with the 1st XV. He captained the side in 2009 and was selected for the NZ Secondary Schools team.
At the age of 19, Sopoaga played for Wellington in the 2010 ITM Cup, making his debut against Manawatu. His strong performances established himself as the squad's starting number 10. He finished the season with 88 points in 9 appearances to help Wellington to reach the final of the competition, where he scored 21 points despite losing to Canterbury.
In late May 2014, Sopoaga announced that he will be joining the Southland Stags for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. The transfer from the Wellington Lions to the Stags keeps Sopoaga in Highlanders territory. Playing for Southland, Lima joins another current Highlander in Elliot Dixon.
Sopoaga, excited by the move as reported by Rugby Southland; “The opportunity came up and it is a good fit to stay in the Highlander franchise and represent the region in the Super 15 and ITM Cup. I’m really starting to feel at home in the south now and proud to be part of the region. The Stags boys in the Highlanders have nothing but good things to say about the Stags and the Southland province and I’m looking forward to getting to Southland and giving my all for my new team.”
Sopoaga followed his former Wellington coach Jamie Joseph south, signing on with the Highlanders for the 2011 Super Rugby season. Expected to back up Colin Slade, he ended up starting the opening game of the season against the Hurricanes due to Slade being injured. He responded in fine fashion by scoring a try and kicking two penalties in a 14-9 victory. However, in his second start of the season he suffered a shoulder injury which ruled him out of the team until the late stages of the season. In 2015 he helped guide the Highlanders to their first super rugby title by defeating the 1st place Hurricanes 21-14.
Sopoaga's efforts in 2015 saw him gaining selection for New Zealand. Sopoaga was used in the Rugby Championship squad for 2015, and was re-selected for the All Blacks in the Steinlager series against Wales in 2016.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lima Sopoaga.|
- Lima Sopoaga. thehighlanders.co.nz