Ben Flower: Wigan prop has served sentence - Shaun Wane

Flower sent off for punch as Saints win

Wigan prop Ben Flower will have "more than served his sentence" when his six-month ban for punching Lance Hohaia ends this week, says Warriors head coach Shaun Wane.

The 27-year-old will return to the Wigan squad for Thursday's game against Warrington at the DW Stadium.

He was sent off two minutes into the 2014 Grand Final when he punched Hohaia and launched a second blow when the St Helens player was on the floor.

"He did what he did," said Wane.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, the 50-year-old added: "He's more than served his sentence.

"He let his team-mates down and we lost a Grand Final through it. If he'd stayed on we'd have won by 30 points and that, in itself, is a lot for a player to carry.

"I'm very, very close to him and very protective of him, so I can't wait for Thursday night to see Ben."

Flower was the first man ever sent off in a Grand Final and received the longest ban in the history of Super League.

New Zealander Hohaia, 32, accepted a one-game suspension for the forearm strike which preceded the punches.

Asked what state of mind the Wales international is in ahead of his comeback, Wane responded: "Very, very good. He's trained really well and I can't wait to put him in.

"He just wants to get back to what he's paid to do, which is playing rugby and being one of best front-rows in the competition.

"He's fit, he's had a long pre-season so he's dying to rip in and get starting playing for us."

Sam Tomkins
Sam Tomkins scored 144 tries in 152 appearances for Wigan

Wane, meanwhile, refused to quell speculation that England full-back Sam Tomkins is poised to return to the club.

Tomkins, 26, announced he would leave the New Zealand Warriors and told a New Zealand radio station that he would be wearing a Wigan jerseyexternal-link next February.

"I've not heard anything, I'm not on social media," added Wane. "Whether he's been misquoted? I don't know why he's said that.

"He's a great player but I'd like to have Greg Inglis as well - but I'm not going to get him - I think any coach in Super League is interested in the world's best players."

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