Lima Sopoaga step closer to Barbarians role
Lima Sopoaga has been aligned to the Eastern-Northern Barbarians in Southland and will link up with his new club in Gore for the first time on Saturday.
Rugby Southland last week announced the marquee signing of the Highlanders first five-eighth for the next two years.
The 23-year-old will travel from Dunedin to Gore on Saturday for the Eastern-Northern Barbarians premier club game against Woodlands.
Whether he plays, or is there as a spectator, has yet to be confirmed but Barbarians coach Brenton Taylor was hopeful he would have some involvement on the field..
The Highlanders are currently on a break through the June-test window with the All Blacks playing three tests against England.
"It would be great if he was able to get involved and play some part in the game on Saturday, and maybe the following week as well," Taylor said yesterday.
"I think it would be a big boost for the area and for the kids to see a guy like that come and have a run around."
The Barbarians have had just Scott McKee go on to play for the Stags.
Taylor said it would be good to have more connection with the Stags through Sopoaga's involvement with the club.
"I think the general consensus was with him based in Dunedin at the moment, if he was going to come down for a training Gore is a bit closer for him. It would be great for us if we could get a game or two out of him but the bigger picture I guess is it is huge for Rugby Southland to get him."
Stags coach Brad Mooar was pleased Sopoaga would be a aligned with a club in Southland.
"He's been registered, so he'll be with the Eastern-Northern Barbarians because it's obviously the closest premier team to Dunedin. It will give him a good chance to connect with them and do as much with them as possible," Mooar said.
"He is going to be in Gore on Saturday morning, whether he plays or not we are not sure at the moment. But the plan is to have him there."
- The Southland Times