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Ben Flower punches Lance Hohaia in Super League Grand Final


St Helens beat Wigan 14-6 in the Super League Grand Final on this day in 2014 but Ben Flower’s early dismissal for punching Lance Hohaia proved the biggest talking point of the showpiece event.

The second-minute red card looked to have Warriors up against it but they surprisingly held a 6-2 lead at the interval after Joe Burgess’ try.

Wigan’s defence was eventually breached and tries by Iosia Soliola and Tommy Makinson helped St Helens clinch victory over their rivals and silverware at Old Trafford.

Wigan's Ben Flower tackles Paul Wellens of St Helen's before his dismissal

Wigan’s Ben Flower tackles Paul Wellens of St Helens before his dismissal (Martin Rickett/PA)

It was Flower’s moment of madness that grabbed the headlines, however, with the Welsh international knocking out Hohaia during the opening exchanges of the final.

The St Helens scrum-half had caught the Wigan prop with a forearm in the second minute after a fiery opening to the clash between two bitter rivals.

Flower responded with a punch which knocked out Hohaia before he landed another on the New Zealander, who was laying on the ground unconscious.

Referee Phil Bentham showed the Wigan player a red card and he remains the first and only player to be sent off in a Grand Final.

A subsequent six-month ban was given to Flower while Hohaia, who was unable to take part in the rest of the match, had to retire a year later citing recurrent concussion symptoms but relations between the pair are positive.

Hohaia immediately insisted “I don’t hold any grudges against Ben” after and wished the prop well on his return to action after a lengthy ban, while Flower was remorseful.

The 33-year-old Flower was playing in Super League as recently as this year for Leigh Centurions before he switched codes in September to sign for Welsh rugby union side Pontypool in the Welsh Championship.

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