Flower set for first battle with close pal Dudson

Ben Flower with Gil Dudson
Ben Flower with Gil Dudson

BEN Flower will put friendship to one side as he prepares for his first-ever “battle” against close pal Gil Dudson.

The props have been good mates since they met at Crusaders eight years ago, and have since played for Wales and Wigan together.

We’ve prepared for a really tough game, because Widnes are fighting to get into the eight, so they’ll be desperate

Ben Flower

This will be the first time Dudson has faced the Warriors since his off-season move to Widnes.

Flower said: “I met up with Gil yesterday and we were chatting about how we’ve not played against each other.

“Because we play in the same position, it should be a bit of a battle, especially if we’re both starting!

“He’s a few years younger than me, he was part of the academy back when Crusaders were at Bridgend, and then we moved to Wrexham before both signing at Wigan.

“We are very close, even though he’s gone to Widnes, we catch up at least once a week.

“But you can’t be friendly when it comes to the game. If someone is running at you, and you try and go easy, they will run over the top of you! And that’s how he’ll look at it too.”

Tomorrow night’s non-televised contest is likely to be Wigan’s last game this year against a team outside the top-eight. They travel to Hull FC next Thursday, before the start of the Super-8s programme.

Flower said: “We’ve prepared for a really tough game, because Widnes are fighting to get into the eight, so they’ll be desperate. You throw in the number of ex-Wigan boys who are there, they seem to step their game up when they play their former club, and it should be a hard game.”

Wigan will be hoping Warrington can overcome St Helens tonight - clearing the path for them to climb to second if they beat the Vikings.

“For us, it’s everything to play for and for them, it’s so important as well because they want to get into the eight,” said Flower.

As expected, Ryan Hampshire has replaced rested full-back Matty Bowen in the provisional squad. Dan Sarginson misses out, with Anthony Gelling ready to step back in.