England legend Jason Robinson admits he is hugely disappointed that Sale Sharks’ cross-code star Denny Solomona will miss out on the chance to feature against Argentina next month.
Like Robinson before him, the 23-year-old has successfully transitioned from league, where he made one appearance for Samoa, to union and in March, he was named in Eddie Jones’ squad for England’s two-Test tour against the Pumas in South America.
However, a foot injury has put paid to New Zealand-born Solomona’s potential debut and Robinson wishes that he would be sitting down to witness the Sale flyer pull on the red rose in June.
“It was such a shame that Denny got injured,” said Robinson, who was capped 51 times by England.
“He carried his record from rugby league straight into rugby union, but he had a background in union, so it wasn’t a completely foreign game to him.
“He came into a team that wasn’t really performing very well in Sale – obviously, they finished tenth – but he managed to find the try-line very often and put himself on the England radar.
“It would have been a really good opportunity for him, and one that he would have relished as well, but I’m sure his time will come again.
“His being out means those other young guys – Nathan Earle and Joe Cokanasiga, for example – have a chance to come in and have a stab at it.”
England men take on Argentina at the Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario in San Juan on Saturday, June 10 and at Sante Fe’s Estadio Brigadier General Estanislao Lopez seven days later.
With Jones’ troops plunged into a potential ‘group of death’ alongside France and Argentina in the draw for the 2019 World Cup in Japan, Robinson believes that competition for places has been ramped up to overdrive.
The likes of Sale’s twin flankers Ben and Tom Curry, who are both set to feature against the Pumas in June, are expected to be right in the mix.
Former Sharks man Robinson said: “It’s [the World Cup draw] added a lot of significance.
“Now, with the World Cup in mind, a lot more thought will go into this tour and with the Lions going at the same time, it means a lot of players have a great opportunity.
“They can go out and prove to Eddie Jones that they are capable of featuring for England, and that they are a genuine option for him when everyone is back.
“You’ll have your senior players there in the likes of Dylan Hartley, Mike Brown and Danny Care, but then we’ve also got guys like Ellis Genge, Nathan Earle, Joe Cokanasiga, and Sam Underhill too.
“These young, uncapped guys will want to go out there, impress and have big games. It’s an opportunity they must seize.
“It’s exciting times for England, given the strength in depth that is there, and we already know that if a player is in form, then Eddie Jones will give them the opportunity.”
Jason Robinson is a Land Rover ambassador. Land Rover is Official Vehicle Partner of Premiership Rugby and has a heritage in supporting rugby at all levels; from grassroots to elite. Follow @LandRoverRugby #WeDealInReal