An extremely skilful first five-eighth, Lima Sopoaga was identified as a rugby talent at a young age but had to overcome struggles with injury to realise his potential and make his Test debut in one of the great rugby cauldrons - Ellis Park in Johannesburg - where he scored 12 points on his Test debut; three conversions and two penalties.
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.
He scored more than 150 points in Investec Super Rugby in 2014 and 2015 and is on track to reach that milestone again, heading into the break.
v South Africa at Johannesburg, 25 July 2015
|Test Points Breakdown:||
1t 15c, 4p
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Southland ITM Cup Squad (2014)
Wellington ITM Cup squad (2010-13)
New Zealand Under 20 squad (2011)
New Zealand Secondary Schools (2009)
Hurricane Schools (2009, 2008)
New Zealand Under 17 squad (2008)
Rugby ground: Westpac Stadium
Rugby player and why: Piri Weepu because he is a team man and always helps young guys. Fa’atonu Fili because he is the funniest guy I have ever met.
Food: Dad’s lasagne
Actor/Actress: Will Smith and Adam Sandler
Movie: More than a game
Book: Oh the Places you’ll go by Dr Seuss
Singer/Band/Music type: Rnb, rap, slow jams, NZ music
Holiday destination: Australia
Non-rugby sports team: LA Lakers
If you could meet one person, who would it be and why: Tiger Woods
Earliest rugby memories: Playing at Petone with my mates and brother
I hate it when….I beat TJ Perenara at table tennis all the time
I can’t live without…..Family
If I wasn’t a rugby player I would be….NBA player