'You have to feel a bit sorry for him' - English club defend Lima Sopoaga's poor start with Wasps

Former All Blacks first-five Lima Sopoaga has been defended by his new club, following his indifferent start to life at English Premiership side Wasps.

Since making the switch to Wasps at the end of the 2018 Super Rugby season, reportedly pocketing around NZ $1 million a year, Sopoaga has failed to replicate his best form seen at the Highlanders, culminating in a yellow card for a no-arms tackle against Bath yesterday.

However, in an interview with the Rugby Paper, Wasps' director of rugby Dai Young says that the club are prepared to wait for the best of Sopoaga.

"We always knew Lima would take a bit of time to settle in and you have to feel a bit sorry for him because he's been trying to settle with half the team he expected to be around him being unavailable," Young said.

Young also said that a string of high profile injuries haven't helped Sopoaga's cause, with the likes of Springboks fullback Willie le Roux among those unavailable.

"That's put more pressure on Lima but we know he's a quality player and we also know that, like most players from the southern hemisphere, you're probably not going to get the best out of them in their first season in England.

"He's shown glimpses and with some of those more experienced, recognised players around him, he's going to grow. They'll take the pressure off and hopefully he'll go from strength-to-strength, which we're confident he will."

Sopoaga is less than one year into his three-year contract with Wasps.

Lima Sopoaga scores a try.
Rugby Championship test match rugby union. New Zealand All Blacks v South Africa Springboks, QBE Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand. Saturday 16 September 2017. © Copyright photo: Andrew Cornaga /
Source: Photosport

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