Flower punch video goes viral as Wigan prop awaits fate

Disgraced rugby league star to discover the length of his ban after Grand Final attack on Hohaia

This time last week few people outside rugby league had heard the name Ben Flower, but thanks to the wonders of the world wide web the Wigan prop has 'gone viral'. His vicious assault on St Helens back Lance Hohaia in Saturday's Super League Grand Final ensured that the Welshman with the wild temper is now known from Cairns to California.

It wasn't the first punch that shocked spectators, a meaty blow in the second minute of the final that knocked Hohaia off his feet and left him lying semi-conscious on the Old Trafford turf. It was what happened next that shamed the sport and Flower in particular. Crouching over the diminutive Hohai, 17-stone Flower delivered a sickening punch to his opponent's face that left him requiring medical attention.

Flower was sent off – the first player to be dismissed in the Super League Grand Final – and St Helens went on to win their first title in eight years. Yet the victory was overshadowed by Flower's actions and this evening he will learn his punishment at an RFL disciplinary tribunal.

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Hohaia must answer a charge that he struck Flower with his elbow – a Grade B offence, which carries a ban of one or two matches – but the Wigan prop's double punch is graded 'F', the most serious in the sport's disciplinary rules, and he faces a minimum of an eight-match ban. In reality, however, Flower can expect to receive a punishment far more substantial as the RFL seeks to repair the damage to the sport's image.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, RFL chief operating officer Ralph Rimmer said: "We have some solid processes available. We have highly experienced members on the panels, who deal with incidents like this on a weekly basis. It is a tried and tested route and we all have confidence in it."

Flower issued an apology on Sunday but his contrition is unlikely to save him from a swingeing punishment with his club also considering action against their prop. "Such activity is unacceptable," said Wigan owner Ian Lenagan. "We don't condone it, we don't accept it, it is not something that is part of rugby league and there are no excuses for it."

Additionally, The Guardian says that the prospect of police involvement is still a possibility although St Helens "would prefer the matter to be resolved by the disciplinary authorities of the Rugby Football League". The paper says that Greater Manchester Police have spoken to Saints chief executive, Mike Rush "after receiving a number of complaints about the incident from members of the public" but are yet to make a recommendation to the Crown Prosecution Service.

"Let's let the RFL do what they've got to do first and foremost," said Rush. "Then we'll talk about it again on Wednesday. It's a tough one."

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Bill Mann is a football correspondent for The Week.co.uk, scouring the world's football press daily for the popular Transfer Talk column.