Ben Flower: Wales coach John Kear expects lengthy ban

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Flower sent off for punch as Saints win

Wales head coach John Kear expects Wigan prop Ben Flower to be banned for around 12 games after being sent-off in the Super League Grand Final.

Flower, 26, faces a minimum eight-game ban after being dismissed for twice punching St Helens' Lance Hohaia.

Ex-Wales captain Jonathan Davies had suggested that Flower should be banned for a full season.

"I believe it will be a fairly hefty suspension and a fairly hefty fine," Kear said,

"I think you're looking at a 12-plus game ban.

"It wasn't a savoury incident and didn't do the sport any favours whatsoever.

"I'm sure Ben is as disappointed as anybody and I know for a fact the Wigan club are disappointed.

"It has taken some off the gloss away from St Helens' victory and it was a mighty fine victory because they have had so many injuries over the course of the season."

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Wales international Flower was sent-off after two minutes after punching Hohaia to the ground before then landing a second blow to the face of his defenceless opponent.

Both men have been charged by the Rugby Football League - Hohaia is accused of striking Flower with his forearm.

Police are looking into the incident, but have received no public complaints.

However, they will continue to liaise with relevant parties - including the Rugby Football League, the Criminal Prosecution Service and St Helens - before deciding on a course of action.

Saints went on to win the Super League title with a 14-6 win over 12-man Wigan.

An RFL spokesman said it would be up to 31-year-old Hohaia, who has said he holds no grudge against Flower, and St Helens to decide whether to pursue legal action.

As is normal, the case was considered by a match review panel on Monday and Flower was charged with a Grade F offence - the most serious in the sport's disciplinary rules - of "violent and aggressive punching" and "punching an off-guard opponent".

The offence carries a minimum eight-match ban, or a ban based on time, and Flower - who has since apologised - will appear before an independent disciplinary tribunal in Leeds on Tuesday evening.

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