A former high-profile rugby league player, Denny Solomona completed a three-year qualification period for England at the end of March this year. When chosen for the tour of Argentina he had scored 11 tries in 13 games for Sale Sharks in his first season with the club, including nine in ten Premiership matches. Last February, he had become only the second Sharks player to score a first-half hat-trick of tries in the competition – the other was Tom Beim in 1997.
Born and raised in Auckland, he played the 15-a-side game at college before joining Melbourne Storm Youth at the age of 17 and running in eight tries in 13 matches before breaking his fibula. He moved to the UK three years ago after signing for London Broncos and made an instant try-scoring impact with ten touchdowns in 21 games.
The Broncos were relegated after his first season and he joined Castleford Tigers, where his try feats gathered momentum with 60 in 44 matches spanning two campaigns. They included 40 in 2016 that broke Lesley Vainikolo’s Super League record set two years earlier.
Denny also qualified for New Zealand and made one rugby league appearance for Samoa. Looking back, he hit a problem when trying to following in the footsteps of his brother Ben, two years older, into the junior sides at the Otahuhu club.
His father Denny Snr, who had moved to Auckland from Samoa at an early age, was coaching Ben’s team but was unable to devote time to spend two evenings on the training paddock. He told Denny to join the big boys or get another coach so he took the bold option of playing in a more senior age group and hasn’t looked back.
Last updated: 20 April 2017