Wasps legend Lawrence Dallaglio claimed Lima Sopoaga would be in Shaun Edwards’ ‘remedial tackling group’ if the Kiwi played during his time at the club.
The 18-times capped All Blacks international marked his 50th appearance for Wasps with a try and nine points from the boot to defeat Exeter Chiefs 34-5 last weekend.
He also made 60 metres with ball in hand from his backfield position at full-back in a performance that saw him named in Sky Sports’ ‘team of the week’ which includes players from the Premiership and the Top 14.
It was the third consecutive week the Kiwi made the Select XV – with the article praising his ‘threatening running throughout’ against the Premiership and European champions.
Also pushing praise Sopoaga’s way was Sunday Times rugby correspondent Stephen Jones, who awarded the full-back his ‘god of the week’ on The Ruck podcast.
He said: “He has changed things around, he is clearly committed, he is clearly playing a part as a leader, he’s at fullback, he’s kicking good goals, he’s taking a part in the action and he looks like he’s enjoying himself.”
Former Wasps captain Dallaglio hosts The Ruck and agreed Sopoaga is playing ‘magnificently well’ but highlighted a weakness in his game the was twice exposed against the Chiefs.
Sopoaga was comfortably rounded by flanker Richard Capstick for the visitor’s only try – which along with Sopoaga’s try – has been nominated for try of the round award. He also failed to lay a finger on Josh Hodge inside the 22, only for Will Porter and Josh Bassett to combine and stop a certain score.
While the former Highlanders fly-half has impressed at his new position of 15, starting every Wasps game so far this season, his two missed tackles from his only two attempts at the weekend takes him to 11 overall – the joint second worst in the division along with Ollie Devoto (Exeter Chiefs) and Paddy Jackson (London Irish) behind Gloucester’s Jordy Reid (18).
Dallaglio played many of his years at Wasps under the guidance of defensive guru Edwards – who he believed would have paid a particular focus on the Kiwi’s tackling abilities.
“If I was training with him now as a professional player I would be helping him to learn how to tackle,” he said on The Ruck. “What I would say to him is tackling is not optional and he would certainly be in Shaun Edwards’ remedial tackling group for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday until he learns how to lay a finger on somebody at full-back.”
Six Wasps players were named in the Premierships round 5 team of the week, selected by former England prop David Flatman. Lima Sopoaga was pipped to the 15 shirt by Leicester Tigers’ Freddie Steward but Flatman did say Sopoaga had his ‘best display in a Wasps jersey’.
Joe Launchbury, James Gaskell, Dan Robson, Jacob Umaga, Michael Le Bourgeois and Josh Bassett all made the cut.
Charlie Atkinson, who appeared as a late substitute at the Ricoh Arena, has been nominated for December’s Premiership player of the month along with fellow Wasps academy product Alfie Barbeary, who looks set to miss three months of action after undergoing surgery on his his syndesmosis injury suffered against Sale Sharks. To cast your vote click here.
To vote on the try of the week poll, click here.