CASTLEFORD Tigers have appointed a leading London barrister as their battle with Sale Sharks over star winger Denny Solomona intensifies.
The West Yorkshire club are furious the prolific Aucklander – Super League’s leading try-scorer last season with a record-breaking 40 touchdowns – failed to return for pre-season training on November 7.
Solomona, contracted at Wheldon Road until the end of 2018, has reportedly resigned in order to facilitate a move to Premiership rugby union club Sale.
Castleford said last month they had rejected three bids for the in-demand 23-year-old with Sale, one other union side and a Super League club having made offers, although none anywhere close to the £300,000 reported at the time.
However, despite Tigers repeatedly insisting he is not even for sale, Solomona has walked away from the club and since been spotted at Sale’s training ground.
It is understood Sale now hope to, bizarrely, secure the player for no fee whatsoever arguing he has retired from rugby league and switched sports, something Castleford are readied to fight given they have engaged the renowned Nick Randall QC to lead their case.
Randall, whose clients include England captain Wayne Rooney, helped Leeds Rhinos win their case against Bradford Bulls in 2008 over the long-running Iestyn Harris transfer saga.
Furthermore, he has represented the FA Premier League and the ECB.
Sources close to Castleford last night confirmed to the Yorkshire Evening Post that both Randall and Richard Cramer, from Leeds-based Front Row Legal sports solicitors, had taken on their case and had the backing of the RFL.
Sale have already recently signed one Super League winger – the Wigan Warriors and England international Josh Charnley – and are keen to add Solomona to their squad given his attacking prowess.
He scored a seventh hat-trick of the season in the Tigers’ final game against Widnes Viking to break the Super League record of 38 tries in a campaign, his overall total also beating St John Ellis’ club record of 40 set in 1994. The pacey Samoa international, renowned for his spectacular one-handed finishes, made the three-man shortlist for the Steve Prescott Man of Steel before missing out to Hull FC’s Danny Houghton.
Solomona, whose agent is Andy Clarke, joined Castleford from London Broncos at the end of 2014 having moved from Melbourne Storm.
He has gone on to score 60 tries in just 44 games, attracting interest from both codes.