Castleford Tigers: Castleford’s star winger Solomona doesn’t want to play for England

Denny Solomona
Denny Solomona
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Free-scoring Castleford Tigers winger Denny Solomona has dismissed any prospect of playing for England and admitted he would love to face them in the end-of-season Four Nations Series.

Free-scoring Castleford Tigers winger Denny Solomona has dismissed any prospect of playing for England and admitted he would love to face them in the end-of-season Four Nations Series.

The sensational form of the 22-year-old Castleford winger has prompted calls for him to be considered for England under the residency ruling that allowed his Tigers team-mate Rangi Chase to switch allegiance in 2011.

However, although the Auckland-born Solomona admitted he has a burning desire to play Test match rugby, he insisted he is not looking outside the southern hemisphere for international honours.

“Rangi Chase had every right to represent England when did, although he still gets a bit of stick for it,” Solomona said.

“He married a woman from here and he’s got two kids, so he’s got every right to represent the country where his heart is.

“But my heart’s not here, it’s not for England. I play in Super League but my heart is for New Zealand and Samoa and that’s who I’ll be representing if they ask. I’d love to represent Samoa while my grandparents are alive, it would mean a lot to do that, but it would be good if New Zealand came calling. I would be open to any option.”

Solomona, who cut short his promising NRL career at Melbourne to join London Broncos in 2014, has proved to be a revelation this season with the Tigers, with 35 tries in 26 Super League matches, so far.

A hat-trick in last week’s win over Wakefield took him 12 clear of his nearest rival and he goes into Thursday’s Super 8s match at St Helens needing just one more try to equal the Super League record of Bradford winger Lesley Vainikolo, who scored 36 regular-season tries in 2004.

Solomona has three matches in all left to break St John Ellis’s Castleford club record of 40 tries in a season set in 1994 but has modestly played down his achievements.

“It all comes down to my forward pack and how the team’s been running,” he said. “Obviously if we don’t go forward, I don’t get down to that half of the field.

“It’s all credit to the boys that work their nuts off. I don’t do much, I just grab the ball and put it down.

“I’m not too fussed about what records are going to be broken, I just want to finish the season on a high and go into the off season relaxed.”

Solomona’s try-scoring exploits have made him one of Super League’s most prized assets and, although Castleford chairman Ian Fulton last month sought to end the speculation with a statement insisting he is not for sale, the player himself appears to be leaving the door open.

“Nothing is set in stone but I’ve signed a contract for 2018 and that’s what I’ll do unless something else pops up and I’ll cross that bridge when it does,” he said.

“But at the moment, we’re just focusing on this year and hopefully we can do something and get up to that fifth spot.”

Sixth-placed Castleford are just a point behind Catalans Dragons after winning three of their first four Super 8s fixtures but cannot catch St Helens, who need just a point from their last three games to ensure a semi-final spot.

Saints, who have not lost at home to Castleford for 24 years, are boosted by the return from suspension of scrum-half Luke Walsh while Tigers coach Daryl Powell has had to call up a trio of academy players after their injury crisis deepened to such an extent that he was forced to cancel training on Monday.

“We’ve been struggling for numbers all year,” Solomona added. “Injuries are part of the game so we’ve got to take it on the chin. We’re trying to finish the season how we started.”

Jamie Ellis playing for Hull KR this season (Picture: Hull KR)

Jamie Ellis eager to make most of his second chance with Castleford Tigers