Wigan Warriors' Ben Flower believes fellow Welshman Regan Grace deserved GB call

Ben Flower says he was “very disappointed” fellow Welshman Regan Grace was overlooked for Great Britain duty.

Grace’s omission led to accusations it was because he was Welsh and not in the England Knights set-up.

Flower believes the St Helens ace, from Port Talbot, deserved a place in the squad – but not simply because of his nationality.

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“I was very disappointed for him,” said Flower. “The way Regan had played this year, it was a no-brainer for me, he definitely should have been on the tour.”

Wayne Bennett caught many by surprise by only including two wingers in his Lions squad – including Ryan Hall, despite him playing only six NRL games this year.

And when Hall was injured, Australian stand-off Blake Austin was switched to the wing and retained the spot even when Leeds’ Ash Handley was flown out to Papua New Guinea ahead of the final Test.

“Don’t get me wrong, Ash is a great player,” says Flower. “But how Regan didn’t get selected...

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“Regardless of him being Welsh, it should be picked on playing ability – even if there are no Welsh, Scottish or Irish lads in there. But you go on playing ability at present, not how you’ve played in the past – and he definitely deserved to go.”

Flower himself had GB aspirations but his 2019 campaign was hampered by injuries.

“Obviously being injured made those goals unachievable, it’s disappointing but it’s part and parcel of this game,” he added.