Grand Final: Ben Flower 'sorry' for punching Lance Hohaia

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Flower sent off for punch as Saints win

Wigan's Wales international prop Ben Flower has apologised for punching St Helens' Lance Hohaia, who says he is not bitter about the way his Super League Grand Final ended on Saturday.

Flower was shown a red card after two minutes, having knocked Hohaia to the floor before landing a second punch while the Saints man was on the ground.

Hohaia played no further part as Saints went on to win 14-6 at Old Trafford.

"I don't hold any grudges against Ben," said New Zealander Hohaia, 31.

"In the heat of the moment, people do some things they regret. I've done some silly things on the field myself.

"He's probably disappointed in himself for not being able to play a part in the game as well."

In a statement on Wigan's website, Flower, 26, said he was "devastated" by what he had done.

"I firstly offer my apologies to Lance. I have full respect for him, and have never gone onto a rugby field to injure a fellow player.

Lance Hohaia only returned to the field to celebrate Saints' Grand Final win
Hohaia (centre) lasted less than two minutes of the 2014 Grand Final

"I'd also like to say sorry to my team-mates, our fans and the Wigan Club. I know I've let them down like never before and 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 the attention away from what was a special event."

Hohaia was unable to return to the field because of concussion and will have scans this week before hopefully being cleared to fly out with his family for a holiday.

"I wanted to go back on but the doctor wouldn't allow that to happen," added Hohaia. "My health comes before anything else.

"I don't remember the incident. People have told me what happened, I guess I was hit around the head somewhere. Sometimes these things happen in the game."

Wigan coach Shaun Wane said he "will stand by" his player for an incident that attracted wide condemnation.

A Rugby Football League spokesman said it would be up to Hohaia and St Helens to decide whether to pursue legal action but the case would go as normal before the match review panel on Monday.

Flower is set to face a disciplinary tribunal on Tuesday when he can expect a suspension of about eight matches.

RFL chief executive Nigel Wood said: "The matter will be dealt with as with any other Super League fixture."

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