Mercenary ex-Castleford Tigers winger Denny Solomona declares interest to play for Eddie Jones’s England

Denny Solomona celebrates a try for Castleford Tigers
Denny Solomona celebrates a try for Castleford Tigers
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Former Castleford Tigers winger Denny Solomona has his sights on an England place following his controversial switch to rugby union.

The Sale winger has scored 11 tries in as many games this season for the Sharks after moving from Super League side Castleford Tigers.

That could potentially bring him onto Eddie Jones’s radar for the summer tour of Argentina, having completed a three-year residency period to qualify, and the New Zealand-born winger would welcome the chance.

“Yes, 100 per cent,” he said. “If the opportunity presents itself, I’ll take it with both hands.

“At the moment, I’m just focusing on the now and playing well for Sale. If it comes, it comes.

“I’ve bought a house here, I’m engaged to marry an English girl, I’m well and truly inside the English culture now. I’ve been here three years and that’s the choice I want to make.”

There’s always been an aspiration to come back and finish what I started in union. Now I’m doing it.

Denny Solomona

Solomona did not comment on his departure from Castleford, which remains the subject of legal action after he retired from league aged 23, with two years left on his contract and returned to the code he played as a youngster in New Zealand.

Solomona, who has previously represented Samoa at rugby league, said: “There’s always been an aspiration to come back and finish what I started in union. Now I’m doing it.

“I sat down and spoke to Steve Diamond and my fiancee and we said the criticism is bound to happen. I just block social media critics. If it wasn’t for the Sale boys being so welcoming, it would have been a nightmare. Everyone’s got frustrations. I’ve moved on, I’m sure they’ll move on, too.”

Solomona is aiming to follow the same path as Jason Robinson, who set a standard for converts from league to union that no other England player has threatened.

The former Wigan and Great Britain wing joined Sale in 2000 and went on to enjoy a glittering career in the 15-a-side code, highlighted by scoring a try in the 2003 World Cup final when England beat Australia and starring for the British and Irish Lions Down Under two years earlier. He scored 28 tries in 51 Tests for England, a figure bettered by just four players – Rory Underwood, Will Greenwood, Ben Cohen and Jeremy Guscott.

Another former Wigan RL players who made a successful switch was Chris Ashton.

He featured for Wigan as a teenager and was one of the most prolific try-scorers in rugby league before switching codes and joining Northampton 10 years ago. He made his England union debut against France in 2010, scoring 19 tries in 39 Tests. Ashton has not played Test rugby since 2014 but will join Toulon from Saracens this summer.

Oli Rosillo.

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