Denny Solomona’s ready to play for England – backs coach Glen Ella
The 23-year-old former Castleford rugby league winger was drafted into Eddie Jones’ squad for the tour to Argentina after making an impressive switch of codes with 11 tries in just 15 appearances for Sale.
Ella, 58, who was assistant to Jones with the Wallabies, played significant roles in the successful rugby union careers of Australian wingers Wendell Sailor and Tuqiri and believes Solomona can make a similar impact with England.
Solomona is one of 18 uncapped players in Jones’ 32-strong squad who were put through their paces at San Isidro Club on the outskirts of Buenos Aires on Wednesday, hoping to get the nod to make their debuts in the first Test against the Pumas in San Juan on Saturday.
“He reminds me a bit of Lote to be honest, not like Wendell who liked to prance around,” Ella told a news conference in Buenos Aires. “Denny is just hard and puts his head down. We have had a good chat and he wants to make an impression on this tour.
“It’s only training and you like to see guys in Test football but he moves well in training, he’s got some good speed and obviously being a Samoan guy, he’s got big stature as well. Hopefully he’ll get a chance at some stage and we can have a look at him in Test rugby.
“I’m pretty sure he’s ready. We’ve trained very hard, very intensely over the last couple of weeks and anyone who gets picked will be ready for Test rugby.”
Ella, who linked up with Jones on the England tour to Australia in 2016, says the backroom staff have been putting together extra video sessions for Solomona in order to fast-track his switch.
“The league guys are pretty dedicated,” Ella said. “They like to do a lot of extras and want to learn the game as quickly as they can because they’re picked in a pretty competitive team and they’ve got to make an impression now.
“We’re doing extra video sessions on him, just correcting what he’s doing wrong and trying to get him up to speed as quickly as we can.”
“It will give these young guys an opportunity to put their hands up, looking at the World Cup in a couple of years’ time. It’s a big opportunity for guys to really stand up and be counted.”