Rugby World Cup: Samoa star, ex-All Black Lima Sopoaga issues appeal for missing kicking tee

Samoa may have comfortably beaten Chile in their Rugby World cup pool match on Sunday (NZ time), but it appears their ex-All Blacks pivot Lima Sopoaga who came away with the biggest loss in Bordeaux.

The former Highlanders star has issued an appeal on social media for the safe return of his beloved kicking tee that went missing after the game, even offering a monetary reward.

Sopoaga has been using the tee since he was 14 years old, but it appears to have disappeared after he slotted a late conversion in the 43-10 win.

"Could whoever took my goal kicking tee from the field please give it back to me," Sopoaga wrote.  

"I'll even pay you for it. I've had it since I was 14 years old."

Lima Sopoaga using his beloved tee while playing for the All Blacks in 2015.
Lima Sopoaga using his beloved tee while playing for the All Blacks in 2015. Photo credit: Getty Images

In a later tweet, Sopoaga dismissed a suggestion his tee had gone AWOL as the result of an honest mistake.

He said he'd left it with some eye drops but it wasn't there when he'd returned to retrieve them.

The tee has become an integral part of Sopoaga's kicking routine over his 13-year professional career, used for all of the 88 games he played for the Highlanders across eight seasons – including their 2015 Super Rugby title campaign.

The Wellingtonian played 16 tests for the All Blacks before heading to the UK to join English side Wasps in 2018, then later French Top 14 team Lyon. He's currently signed with Japan' Shimizu Blue Sharks.

Sunday's test was Sopoaga's second for Samoa, who he qualifies for on ancestral grounds.

World Rugby's recently relaxed eligibility laws allow players who stand down for three years after playing for one country to represent another for which they qualify.