RFU: ‘No hypocrisy over Solomona’

RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie has denied that Denny Solomona's selection reflects a change of stance from England over the residency rule.

Ritchie has backed for the global residency rule to be extended from three years to five. Solomona qualified to play for England back in March, having crossed codes from rugby league last December to join Sale Sharks.

Solomona has scored ten tries in 13 games for Sale, and having previously suggested that playing for England wasn't in his plans, and having played for Samoa in league, went on to make himself available for England selection last month.

Should World Rugby change the residency rule from three years to five next month at its council meeting, then Solomona would be one of the last players to qualify under the three-year rule.

“I don’t see it as hypocritical. I simply see it as here is a rule, we adhere to this rule and we also believe it is right to change it and have been lobbying to change it,” Ritchie told the Guardian.

“When it changes we will adhere to that rule when it is changed. End of.

“We checked carefully that Denny hits the current qualification. Why therefore would one not pick him?

"Eddie picks who he wants to play from a rugby point of view. If he qualifies and is currently qualified, there is nothing at all inconsistent with saying, ‘That’s fine, you have to pick him.’

"We feel that down the line, five years is a perfectly decent period and we have been fairly public about that. I’m a great believer in sticking to the rules.

"We will stick to the rules once we have changed the rules.”