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Dublin: 20 °C Wednesday 12 August, 2020

Ben Flower apologises for his violent assault during yesterday's Super League Grand Final

The Wigan prop was sent-off just two minutes into the game after twice punching St Helen’s Lance Hohaia.

Image: Martin Rickett

WIGAN’S BEN FLOWER has apologised for his sickening assault on St. Helen’s Lance Hohaia during Saturday’s Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford, an incident that resulted in the prop becoming the first player to ever be sent-off in a decider.

In a statement released by his club, Flower spoke of his regret and how the incident happened in the heat of the moment.

I am so sorry for what happened last night. There is no defence for my actions. It is something that happened in the heat of the moment. I instantly regretted it and am devastated that I allowed myself to punch someone like this.”

“At Wigan … we may aim to dominate teams, but we don’t aim to hurt people. I firstly offer my apologies to Lance. I hope he is OK. I’d also like to say sorry to my team-mates, our fans and the Wigan club. I accept I’ll have to live with this for the rest of my career. Finally, I’m sorry to the sport of rugby league. It was a big night and I know I’ve taken attention away from a special event.”

The 26 year-old faces the prospect of a lengthy suspension and will appear in front of a disciplinary panel on Tuesday to find out his fate. But, Hohaia won’t be pressing charges, accepting that ‘sometimes these things happen in a game’. The 31 year-old was knocked out by Flower’s first punch and wasn’t able to return to the fray.

I don’t remember the incident – people have been telling me what happened. I don’t think the nose is broken but I’ll have a scan on it in the week. I wanted to go back on myself but the doctor wouldn’t let me and obviously my health goes before anything else.”

The incident overshadowed the final – a game won by St. Helen’s on a scoreline of 14-6.

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About the author:

Eoin O'Callaghan

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