Castleford prepare for legal fight in dispute over Denny Solomona
Castleford are preparing to go to the High Court in their row with Sale Sharks over Super League's record-breaking winger Denny Solomona.
The 23-year-old Auckland-born Samoan international, who scored 40 tries for his club in 2016, has failed to turn up for the start of pre-season training with the Tigers amid growing speculation that he is set to switch codes with the Sharks.
Castleford had hoped to hang on to Solomona, having rejected three offers for a player who has two years left on his contract, but decided to put the matter into the hands of their legal team after he allegedly posted a video on Instagram of him socialising with Sale players at their training ground.
A statement issued by the Tigers earlier this month said: " Given the information which appears to be in the public domain, we confirm that we have now instructed our lawyers."
Castleford have enlisted the help of the Rugby Football League, which has confirmed it is investigating the actions of Solomona's agent Andy Clarke and has appointed leading London barrister Nick Randall QC, whose other clients include England captain Wayne Rooney, and Leeds-based sports lawyer Richard Cramer to fight their case.
Press Association Sport understands that Castleford have given Sale an opportunity to resolve the matter before it goes to the High Court.
A Sale spokesman said the club had no comment and Castleford chief executive Steve Gill said: "I have been advised by our legal team to say nothing."
Solomona is the second overseas player to walk out on a Super League club despite being under contract.
However, whereas Warrington have retained the playing registration of Australian scrum-half Chris Sandow and would be entitled to compensation if he joins another rugby league club, either in Super League or the NRL, it is thought Sale are arguing they do not have to pay a transfer fee for a switch of codes.
Castleford will point to the £500,000 fee paid by Bath to secure the signature of South Sydney's England forward Sam Burgess in 2014 in their counter argument.
Sale have already signed one rugby league international winger in Josh Charnley and have been impressed by the scoring prowess of Solomona, who played for Melbourne Storm before moving to Super League with London Broncos in 2014.
Solomona, who made his debut for Samoa in October, was short-listed for the Man of Steel award and named in the 2016 Dream Team after scoring seven hat-tricks for the Tigers this year.