Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Nigel Wood expresses concern to RFU over Denny Solomona contract row

The row between Castleford and Sale over record-breaking winger Denny Solomona has transcended to governing body level.

Nigel Wood, chief executive of the Rugby Football League, has expressed his concern to the Rugby Football Union over the actions of Sale, who are poised to confirm the signing of Solomona after recently announcing his "resignation" from rugby league.

The controversy took another twist on Wednesday when Solomona was formally registered by Sale for the European Champions Cup.

"This has profound implications for the game," Wood said.

"Clearly the sanctity of contracts have to be respected. It's a concern for more than the game, it's bigger than just rugby league or rugby union, it's almost like a law of the land issue really.

"Unilaterally walking away from things is not something you would condone.

"We've been in contact with both the RFU and Premier Rugby to express our concerns. They are aware of our position."

Wood pointed to the example of dual-code New Zealand international Sonny Bill Williams who walked out on NRL club Canterbury Bulldogs in 2008 to switch codes with French outfit Toulon and eventually was forced to make a significant compensation payment.

The 23-year-old Solomona, who scored a record 42 tries in 2016, still had two years left on his contract with the Tigers when he failed to report for pre-season training in November.

Sale have made no official comment since director of rugby Steve Diamond confirmed his club's interest in the player, claiming he had resigned from rugby league, but are thought to be close to announcing his capture.

Along with former Wigan and England winger Josh Charnley, Solomona has been added to Sale's Champions Cup squad ahead of Saturday's round-three match against Saracens at Allianz Park, with Nick Scott and Will Addison being de-registered.

Press Association Sport understands Solomona will not make his Sale debut against Saracens but will be eligible to play later in the competition and he could be unveiled by the Sharks early next week.

Castleford are ready to take the matter to the High Court for a case that could have major ramifications for rugby league.

The Tigers, who say they rejected three offers for a player who has two years left on his contract, have 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.

Neither Castleford nor Sale were prepared to make any comment but the RFL is investigating the actions of the player's agent, Andy Clarke.

Solomona, who left Melbourne to join London Broncos in 2014, was named in the 2016 Super League Dream Team and short-listed for the Man of Steel award after breaking Lesley Vainikolo's record of 40 tries in a Super League season this year. He made his Samoa debut in an international against Fiji in October.

How to Complain

If you have a complaint about the editorial content of the Belfast Telegraph or Sunday Life then contact the Editor here. If you are not satisfied with the response provided then you can contact the Independent Press Standards Organisation here

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph