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Former England wing Denny Solomona gunning for Super Rugby call-up

By Sam Smith
Denny Solomona in action against South Africa in Bloemfontein in 2018. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Former England international Denny Solomona has returned home to New Zealand and has his sights locked on playing Super Rugby this season.

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Solomona, who was born and raised in NZ, relocated to Australia to represent the Melbourne Storm when he was just 15. Following a two-year stint with the team, he headed north to play in the United Kingdom’s Super League before eventually making the switch to rugby union and linking up with Sale Sharks in 2016.

In a surprise move, Solomona prematurely ended his contract with Sale late last year in order to return to New Zealand and spend time with family but the 28-year-old has now revealed he also has ambitions of playing Super Rugby.

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“I’ve reached a point in my career where there’s something missing,” he said this week in an interview with the NZ Herald. “There’s an itch on my back I haven’t scratched before and that is coming back home.

“The competition is fierce. Everyone who knows rugby knows Super Rugby. It would be awesome to go back and touch base with where I came from and play against the boys I grew up with.”

Solomona, who attended St Peter’s College in Auckland, played schoolboy and club rugby with a number of current Super Rugby stars including Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Patrick Tuipulotu and Bryn Hall.

Although Solomona did receive a call-up to the England national squad in 2017, he was a member of the team for just one season and under World Rugby’s recent regulation changes, he would now be eligible to play for a different nation to which he has close and credible ties, including NZ and Samoa.

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“The aspiration is there to play in a World Cup,” he said. “The eligibility rules have changed but I have to earn my spot. Just because I say I’m keen doesn’t mean you’re going to get in straight away.

“I want to deliver some good performances and start loving my rugby more and being surrounded by family.”

While squads have already been determined for this year’s Super Rugby Pacific competition, there is a chance that Solomona could join a side as injury cover once he arrives in New Zealand.

Sale director of rugby Alex Sanderson suggested last year that Solomona’s recent return to form would likely have resulted in the winger being offered a contract extension with the club. At just 28 years old, there’s still plenty of time for Solomona to make a splash in Super Rugby, especially if he’s able to replicate the impact he had during his formative years following his switch to rugby union.

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