Lima Sopoaga

All Blacks jersey losing its allure: Sopoaga

The 16-test first five-eighth says New Zealand Rugby's policy of not selecting overseas-based players is under threat, with the temptation of lucrative contracts in the northern hemisphere starting to force a change.

"I do think that things are starting to change and players are starting to wise up," Sopoaga told the Daily Mail.

"They realise that it's a business these days. When you've got it, you've got it, but when you don't, clubs aren't going to be afraid to cut you."

Young hails Sopoaga signing

The playmaker last week revealed he will leave Highlanders and turn his back on the All Blacks at the end of the 2018 Super Rugby season.

Wasps on Monday announced that Sopoaga, capped 16 times by the world champions, will link up with the Coventry-based club for the 2018-19 campaign.

And director of rugby Young felt the opportunity to recruit the 26-year-old was good to pass up.

"When a world-class fly-half became available we jumped at the chance, as that doesn't happen very often," the Welshman stated.

Sopoaga confirms move to English team

The 26-year-old Highlanders star announced on social media that he's signed a three-year deal with English club Wasps.

Sopoaga, who recently became a father for the first time, said it was a difficult decision to make.

"It's 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.

All Black welcomes baby Milla

The Highlanders and Southland first five-eighths and partner Miriam on Saturday welcomed baby Milla into the world.

Sopoaga was a late withdrawal from the All Blacks' trip to Argentina for next weekend's Rugby Championship clash against the Pumas, replaced by Beauden Barrett who had originally been slated for a rare week off.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen confirmed on Friday before flying out of Auckland for Buenos Aires that Sopoaga would almost certainly join them in Cape Town for the following weekend's Rugby Championship finale against the Springboks.

Barrett replaces Lima Sopoaga

The hard-working All Blacks first five-eighth, who has started all eight tests in 2017, was originally slated as one of six players to sit out the trip to Buenos Aires for the Rugby Championship clash against Argentina.

But that plan has proven ill-fated, with the 26-year-old called in at late notice to replace Southland's Lima Sopoaga in the travelling squad of 28 to face the Pumas, as the All Blacks look to seal another title with their fifth victory from as many matches in the competition.

Lima Sopoaga in doubt

Already sidelined for most the season with a hamstring injury, the Highlanders' first-five eighth is in doubt for Saturday's South Island derby against the Crusaders in Christchurch with a calf injury.

Sopoaga, who has had 45 minutes off the bench the past two weeks, tweaked his calf late in the Highlanders' 44-28 win against the Waratahs in Dunedin last weekend. 

The 26-year-old sat out training on Tuesday, and Highlanders coach Tony Brown has bracketed him on the bench with former Christchurch Boys' High School pivot Fletcher Smith. 

Selection headache looms for Highlanders coach Tony Brown

As good as he's been in leading the Highlanders to a franchise record eight-consecutive wins, the return of six-cap All Black first-five eighth Lima Sopoaga on Saturday night could soon end his golden run. 

Sopoaga, who hadn't played since injuring his hamstring against the Blues on March 11, played 25 minutes off the bench in the Highlanders' 55-6 demolition job of the Western Force in Perth.

Highlanders coach Tony Brown indicated Sopoaga would again come off the pine against the Waratahs in Dunedin on Saturday night, before possibly making a change the following week. 

Smith benched while Sopoaga returns for Highlanders

Smith has started every game for the Highlanders this season but Kane Hammington will pull on the number nine jersey to help manage the All Black halfback's workload in the lead up to the British and Irish Lions Series next month.

First five Lima Sopoaga will play his first match in more than two months after recovering from a hamstring injury.

The 26-year-old will start from the bench.

Returning to the starting line up are All Blacks hooker Liam Coltman and winger Tevita Li, who replaces the suspended Waisake Naholo.

Sopoaga ruled out of South Africa tour

Sopoaga, one of a bunch of All Blacks under an injury cloud ahead of the looming British and Irish Lions tour, hasn't played since pinging a hamstring against the Blues in round three. 

The 26-year-old was initially given a six-eight week prognosis, and Highlanders coach Tony Brown was last week hopeful the pivot would return against the Bulls in Pretoria Sunday week (NZT). 

However, speaking from Bloemfontein on Thursday morning , Brown said Sopoaga was still "at least" two weeks away. 

Sopoaga apologises for offensive post

Sopoaga's Highlanders team-mate Malakai Fekitoa posted a photo of Fekitoa being kissed by two of his team-mates on Instagram and Sopoaga commented "hah gayyyyyyyyyyye".

That may have been a reference to the internet meme which spawned from the television show Community, but it didn't go down well.

Sopoaga deleted the off-the-cuff comment and apologized immediately once he realised he may have upset people.

"Sorry to anyone who took offence to my comment above," Sopoaga wrote.