‘Revved up’ Flower will handle any taunts

Ben Flower
Ben Flower

SHAUN Wane is confident Ben Flower has the strength of character to ignore any taunts aimed his way this Friday night.

The Welsh prop will be back under the spotlight when Wigan travel to Langtree Park.

It is the first time Flower has faced St Helens since being sent off in last October’s Grand Final defeat for punching Lane Hohaia.

Kiwi Hohaia has since retired, but the home fans will no doubt treat Flower as the pantomime villain.

Wane said: “He’s a strong character, so that won’t bother him at all.

“He’s ready to play, he’s revved up, and we’re ready to play and look after him.

“He needs to run harder and be more aggressive in contact, and I want them to see the best of Ben Flower.

“The external stuff is nothing to do with him now, he’s just concentrating on getting the two points.”

Flower’s return from a six-month ban was hampered by a hamstring injury, but he has played the last two matches and Wane is pleased with his contribution.

“I am impressed with him,” he said.

“I had him in the awkward room - that’s what it’s called, because when they’re in there, it’s never a simple chat - and I told him that I’m really happy with how he’s going.

“When he’s at his best, he’s one of the best in the competition.”

Wane has confirmed hooker Logan Tomkins will be eligible to play against the club for Salford next week.

Tomkins joined the Red Devils on loan until the end of the season last week.

The move offers a quick opportunity for the 22-year-old to face his parent club with the Warriors hosting Salford in the First Utility Super League a week on Friday.

Some previous loan deals in Super League have prevented such occurrences – notably the acrimonious deal that took Gareth Hock from Wigan to Widnes in 2013 – but Wane says no such clause exists this time.

Wane said: “He can play. I am not into all that. The Gaz Hock thing a couple of years ago was organised in the directors’ room, nothing to do with me. Logan can play. I won’t start telling players he can’t play against us.”

Tomkins also spent most of last season on loan with the Red Devils and Wane feels he will benefit from greater exposure.

He said: “I wanted him to play at a high level. It is the best thing for Logan. I am not trying to help anybody (another club) out.

“It is simply to make sure Logan plays at a high standard. It suits us and Logan down to the ground.”