27 Jul 2015

Sopoaga impresses on debut

8:53 am on 27 July 2015

The Highlanders first five Lima Sopoaga has thrown his name in the hat for World Cup selection after an encouraging debut against the Springboks yesterday.

Lima Sopoaga on debut for All Blacks vs South Africa 2015.

Lima Sopoaga on debut for All Blacks vs South Africa 2015. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Sopoaga was probably considered an outside chance to make the 31-man World Cup squad, but he played well as the All Blacks came from behind to win 27-20 and set up a Rugby Championship decider against Australia in a fortnight.

Assistant coach Ian Foster said Sopoaga would be happy with his debut, especially given the record at Ellis Park.

"You know to stay on there 80 minutes and to influence a result... he kicked some important goals near the end.

"He'll learn a lot about how to control our game, he had a lot of defensive roles to do - you know, we didn't have a lot of ball and when we did have some phases, he put them together nicely."

Sopoaga could still be on the outer for the World Cup as he most likely remains fourth in the line behind Dan Carter, Beauden Barrett and Colin Slade and the young Highlander is limited to just first five.

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