CONFIRMED: All Black flyhalf off to England

Lima Sopoaga (Gallo Images)
Lima Sopoaga (Gallo Images)

Wellington - New Zealand Rugby on Thursday confirmed that All Blacks flyhalf Lima Sopoaga has signed a three-year deal with English club Wasps and will be leaving New Zealand at the end of the year.

The deal would effectively rule the 26-year-old out of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Sopoaga used his Instagram page to say it was "one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make but is one I'm at peace with".

"It is with a heavy heart that I announce that my family and I will be leaving NZ at the end of the 2018 season," he added.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said he was disappointed "but we understand his reasons for leaving".

"Our job now will be to develop the next player to take his place."

Sopoaga made his All Blacks debut in 2015 against South Africa but only started twice in his 16 Tests in a position dominated in recent years by Dan Carter, Beauden Barrett and Aaron Cruden.

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. It was one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make but is one I'm at peace with. I have loved every minute of being a professional footballer here in NZ, I've made life long friends and memories that I'll cherish forever. I'd like to thank the Highlanders, All Blacks, Southland and Wellington for the awesome experiences you have provided me with over the years. Thank you to all the fans for your support it's been one heck of a ride. To my team mates and coaches over the years thank you for everything, I've been blessed to have met so many top men. Last but not least to my family & friends you know who you are the ones who have stood by me through the lowest of lows and the highest of highs you have seen both the valleys and the peaks, THANK YOU will never be enough! So here's to 2018 one last roll of the dice before I head off to experience life on the other side of the world. I'm ready. TheSops LS10

A post shared by Lima Sopoaga (@limasopoaga) on

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