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Burgess crowned rugby league player of the year

Burgess will now switch to playing union. Credit: PA

Sam Burgess has become the first English winner of the Rugby League International Federation's International Player of the Year Award.

Burgess, who defied a fractured eye socket and cheekbone to help South Sydney to victory in the NRL Grand Final, received the prestigious award at the Royal International Convention Centre in Brisbane, where the 2014 Four Nations Series gets under way without him on Saturday.

The former Bradford forward will link up with Bath next week ahead of his cross-code switch, although he will not be able to make his rugby union debut until December as he recovers from the injuries he sustained in the first tackle of the match against Canterbury Bulldogs earlier this month.

RLIF chairman Nigel Wood said: "He is a worthy recipient and deserves to be recognised for his achievements over the past year on the international stage as well as in the NRL competition."

Wigan dismiss calls to sack Flower over assault

Flower was banned for six months - the longest in Super League history. Credit: PA

Wigan chairman, Ian Lenagan, has rejected calls to sack Ben Flower after he was banned for six months from playing in the Rugby Football League.

Flower punched Lance Hohaia of St Helens twice, knocking him out with the first, then throwing another as he was lying on the turf and has since received the longest ban in Super League history.

Some critics have suggested that Flower should be dismissed from his job, but Lenagan has assured the prop that his future is safe at Wigan.

"Ben Flower made a mistake and I say very clearly: ‘Let any one of us who has not made a mistake stand forward,'” Lenagan told Sky Sports News.

"That is a reason to discipline him, a reason to make sure that he suffers from it – because we as a club have suffered as well and quite rightly so because we are responsible for our players – but there is no question of us sacking Ben Flower."

Read: Police probe death threats to Flower

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Police probe death threats to banned RL player Flower

Great Manchester Police are investigating after being alerted to death threats made to banned Wigan rugby league player Ben Flower Credit: PA

Greater Manchester Police is investigating death threats made to banned Wigan rugby league player Ben Flower in a series of abusive messages on Twitter.

The remarks, directed to Flower from a single account yesterday evening, included comments that the 26-year-old Welsh international "deserves to be shot" and that his "last days are approaching".

Flower was sent off in Saturday's Super League Grand Final for punching St Helens stand-off Lance Hohaia while he was motionless on the ground just two minutes into the Grand Final.

He was banned from the sport for six months yesterday.

Great Manchester Police stated on Twitter: "We've been made aware of abusive social media activity about the Rugby League Grand Final. Please be reassured that we are looking into this."

Martin Offiah: No need for police involvement over Ben Flower punch

Former rugby player Martin Offiah has said he doesn't see any point in "putting Ben Flower in jail" after the Wigan player twice punched an opponent during the Super League Grand Final.

Flower punched the St Helen's half-back Lance Hohaia in the face twice just a few minutes into Saturday's final. The first strike floored him, while the second came as he lay passed out on the ground.

Wigan legend Offiah said he saw no role for the police in the matter:

Flower charged by RFL and facing lengthy ban

Flower could be banned for more than eight matches. Credit: PA

Wigan forward Ben Flower faces a lengthy ban after being charged for his attack on St Helens half-back Lance Hohaia in the Super League Grand Final.

Flower could receive a suspension of more than eight matches after he was sent off for twice striking Hohaia, including once while the Saints man was on the floor, with the Rugby Football League's match review panel taking a dim view of the incident.

He has been charged with a Grade F offence - the most serious on the RFL's sliding scale - and is accused of "violent and aggressive punching on an off-guard opponent".

Hohaia has been charged with a lesser Grade B offence for starting the flare-up by putting a forearm into the face of Flower.

"Ben Flower of Wigan Warriors has been charged with the Grade F offence of violent and aggressive punching/punching an off-guard opponent (Lance Hohaia) in the second minute of the match," said a statement on the RFL website.

"Hohaia has been charged with the Grade B offence of striking Flower with the forearm in the second minute."

Greater Manchester Police look into Flower punch

Ben Flower after two minutes for a sickening punch. Credit: PA

Greater Manchester Police are looking into the incident which saw Wigan prop Ben Flower dismissed two minutes into Saturday's Super League Grand Final.

Flower knocked St Helens scrum half back Lance Hohaia unconscious with a punch while he was lying on the floor at Old Trafford.

Police say they haven't received any public complaints about the incident, but will continue to work with all relevant people involved.

After the match, Flower said: “I accept I’ll have to live with this for the rest of my career.

"It was a big night and I know I’ve taken the attention away from what was a special event.”

In Flowers absence, Wigan lost the match 14-6.

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Rugby league star Flower condemned for attack in Grand Final

Wigan forward Ben Flower's shocking attack on a defenceless opponent in rugby league's Grand Final has been condemned by fans of the sport.

Welsh international Flower, 26, became the first player to be sent off in a Grand Final, for a brutal assault on St Helens' Lance Hohaia after less than three minutes of the showpiece game at Old Trafford.

Flower appeared to take exception to Hohaia's use of a forearm on him and reacted by punching him to the ground. He then struck the prone, motionless Hohaia again, with a second punch to his face.

Flower later expressed his regret at the incident:

Rugby league star may lose an eye after attack

Hull KR player Sean Gleeson has been told he could lose an eye after an attack outside a nightclub. Credit: Nigel French/PA Archive

A Super League rugby player has been told he may lose an eye after he was attacked outside a nightclub.

Hull KR's Sean Gleeson was punched in the face a number of times following a row with three men in Wigan, Greater Manchester, in the early hours of Sunday.

The 26-year-old suffered serious injuries to his eye and eye socket and was taken to hospital where he remains.

Gleeson became involved in a fight with one of the men outside Ibiza Bar in King Street. The others joined in before leaving Gleeson in the road and running away.

Police have released CCTV images of three men they would like to speak to in connection with the assault, which took place at about 4am.

Brothers celebrate England rugby union and league wins

Rugby playing brothers Sam and Joel Tomkins celebrated wins today after the pair represented England simultaneously in both rugby league and union.

England's Joel Tomkins is tackled by Australia's Israel Folau and Adam Ashley-Cooper during the QBE International at Twickenham, London. Credit: David Davies/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Sam turned out for his national rugby league side in the World Cup match 42-0 win against Ireland in Huddersfield.

England's Sam Tomkins in action during the 2013 World Cup match at the John Smith's Stadium, Huddersfield. Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

Meanwhile his older brother Joel made his rugby union international debut against Australia at Twickenham. England won the game 20-13.

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