Flower reveals red card regrets


Published: Wednesday 14th January 2015 by The News Editor

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Wigan prop Ben Flower has spoken of his devastation after becoming the first player to be sent off in a Super League Grand Final.

The 27-year-old Welsh international is halfway through a six-month ban imposed for punching stand-off Lance Hohaia during the opening minutes of the Warriors’ 14-6 defeat by St Helens in last October’s title decider at Old Trafford.

Speaking for the first time since the incident, Flower says he was taken aback by his own actions and the furore that followed.

“I think about it every day,” Flower told Sky Sports News. “If I could take it back, I would, every day of the week.”

Flower admits he was “pumped up and ready to go” before kick-off. Having punched Hohaia in the face, Flower stunned the 77,000 crowd and millions of television views by repeating the act while his opponent lay helpless on the ground.

“I think the frustration of knocking on, then getting hit from the side made me react in a way I’ve never reacted before,” he said.

“The game was so intense and I’ve naturally just thrown a punch. I’ve got no recollection of throwing the second. I don’t know why I threw it. I don’t know why I couldn’t hold myself back.

“I was devastated. It hit home then, letting my team-mates down – they had to play the rest of the Grand Final on their own.”

A contrite Flower issued a public apology within 24 hours, but the reaction went on for days.

“That was when it really hit hardest, knowing I was hated by everyone at the time, knowing you’re trending on Twitter,” he added.

Wigan stood by their player and he is set to return in the middle of April after sitting out the first 10 rounds of the new season. He is now hoping to meet up and shake hands with Hohaia.

“I can’t thank St Helens and Lance enough,” he said. “I’d look forward to meeting him and hope there will be a handshake and a chat. I know he didn’t take it to heart.”

Published: Wednesday 14th January 2015 by The News Editor

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