March 29, 2017 / 9:09 AM / 10 months ago

Rugby - Sale winger Solomona set sights on England call-up

(Reuters) - Sale Sharks’ Denny Solomona says he is open to playing for England should the opportunity arise after he qualified to represent the country under rugby’s three-year residency rule earlier this month.

The Auckland-born winger has been drawing rave reviews in England’s Premiership since switching from rugby league in December and has scored 11 tries in as many games, including a first-half hat-trick against Wasps last month.

“Yes, 100 percent, if the opportunity presents itself, I’ll take it with both hands,” Solomona, a former Samoa rugby league international, told the Times. “At the moment, I‘m just focussing on the now and playing well for Sale. If it comes, it comes.”

Speculation has been growing in the British media that Solomona is primed for a call-up even though World Rugby will vote in May to extend the residency rule to five years in an attempt to counter the growing problem of nationality swapping.

England had four New Zealand-born players -- captain Dylan Hartley, prop Mako Vunipola, flanker Teimana Harrison and centre Ben Te‘o -- in this year’s Six Nations squad.

“I’ve bought a house here, I‘m engaged to marry an English girl, I‘m well and truly inside the English culture now. Circumstances change,” the 23-year-old Solomona added.

“I’ve been here (in England) three years and that’s the choice I want to make.”

Solomona has also been tipped for a place on this year’s British and Irish Lions’ tour to New Zealand by former England back Austin Healey.

Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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