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Sopoaga hoping for better luck

30th January 2014 11:25

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Lima Sopoaga Highlanders SR 2013

Injury prone: Lima Sopoaga

Highlanders fly-half Lima Sopoaga is hoping for better luck with injuries in 2014 after he spent most of his Super Rugby career on the sidelines.

Sopoaga, who turns 23 next week, has played only 16 matches in three years for the Dunedin-based franchise after several serious injuries.

That includes eight weeks out with his right shoulder, six months with a fractured left shoulder and 10 weeks with a high ankle strain.

"It's been a bit of a rubbish run, to be honest, and hopefully this year I get a bit of luck on my side and get a full season," he told Fairfax Media. Injuries are just part of the game and I've been unlucky," he said.

"It's been bloody hard work coming back from injuries, but you just can't give up.

"You have to do everything that the medical team tell you to do and try and stay as positive as possible.

"You obviously have your down days, you think 'why me?', but you've just got to keep going."

During his rare appearances for the Highlanders, and more regularly with Wellington in the ITM Cup, Sopoaga has shown glimpses of his potential.

And Highlanders boss Jamie Joseph believes Sopoaga can still reach greater heights.

"He's had a bad run, and it's usually been on the end of some really good form," said Joseph.

"He's in good nick, he's physically and mentally keen so he just needs to get out there and start playing and start building some form over the pre-season.

"I've coached Lima for years now. He came through with me from the Wellington academy, I selected him in the Lions and then I brought him down south to the Highlanders.

"He's looking for a big year. Players the same age, like [Beauden] Barrett and [Aaron] Cruden have really developed into classy All Blacks, so Lima will have that in the back of his mind and we are hoping for a big season from him."

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