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Saturday 19 August 2017

Flower incident could see action from police

RUGBY LEAGUE: St Helens will decide whether to pursue their own action against Wigan forward Ben Flower (pictured) after consulting with police over his attack on half-back Lance Hohaia in the Super League Grand Final.

Flower, sent off for twice striking the Saints player, including once while he was motionless on the ground, could receive a suspension of more than eight matches after he was charged by the Rugby Football League's match review panel with the most severe offence.

The 26-year-old Wales international will appear in front of a disciplinary tribunal at RFL headquarters in Leeds this evening on a Grade F offence accused of "violent and aggressive punching on an off-guard opponent".

St Helens may also decide to take the matter further after a spokesman for Greater Manchester Police confirmed the Crown Prosecution Service could become involved. Hohaia has also been charged over the incident, although with a lesser Grade B offence for allegedly using a forearm to 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 an RFL statement."

Flower's attack on Hohaia in only the second minute completely overshadowed Saints' 14-6 victory over the defending champions at Old Trafford on Saturday, with the prop's double punch receiving widespread criticism. The Wales international making history by becoming the first player to be sent off in a Grand Final.

Martin second overall in Beijing

CYCLING: Ireland's Dan Martin has taken second place in the final general classification at the Tour of Beijing.

The Birmingham-born Garmin-Sharp rider was beaten to the title by Belgium's Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing), who finished three seconds ahead of Martin in the GC.

Martin's compatriot Philip Deignan (Team Sky) was 18th in the GC, less than a minute behind the winner.

Meanwhile, according to Tinkoff-Saxo cycling team, Russian billionaire Oleg Tinkov's €1million challenge is no "joke" and will help develop the sport's popularity.

Tinkov is trying to entice Alberto Contador and his three biggest rivals to compete in all three Grand Tours next year with a €1m prize to share if they commit to racing at the Giro d'Italia, the Tour de France and the Spanish Vuelta in 2015.

The eccentric businessman's proposal received a positive welcome and Tinkoff-Saxo said yesterday the idea "will be beneficial to the sport of cycling" because it will boost audiences worldwide.

In addition to Contador, who rides for Tinkov's team and has already won all three Grand Tours, the billionaire is hoping to convince Chris Froome, Nairo Quintana and Vincenzo Nibali to be on the starting line of the three-week events.

Wolff wants new Hamilton deal

FORMULA 1: Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff is to offer Lewis Hamilton a new contract at the end of the year in a bid to keep him at the team beyond 2015. Hamilton's current three-year deal expires after next season, with recent speculation suggesting Fernando Alonso is attempting to engineer his way into Mercedes as a replacement.

Wolff, though, has made it clear he has no intention of looking at any driver other than Hamilton as partner to Nico Rosberg for 2016 and beyond. Wolff's remarks come in the wake of Mercedes clinching the first constructors' title in their illustrious history with a ninth one-two of the season in Sunday's Russian Grand Prix.

All that remains now is for either Hamilton or Rosberg to wrap up the drivers' crown, with the former 17 points clear following a ninth win of the campaign. Addressing the future, Wolff said: "We have a contract with both our drivers for 2015, and we want to continue with the current line-up. So our main priority is to continue with Lewis and Nico beyond 2015."

Spinks has second operation

boxing: Former heavyweight champion Leon Spinks is in a Las Vegas hospital after a second operation for abdominal problems. The 61-year-old boxer who catapulted to fame by beating Muhammad Ali in 1978 had the second surgery in recent days after complications from the first emergency surgery.

McDowell bids to defend title

golf: Graeme McDowell will have to overcome European opposition as he seeks to retain his title in the Volvo World Match Play Championship, which begins at the London Golf Club tomorrow.

McDowell, seeded to play the tournament's top-ranked player Henrik Stenson in the final on Sunday, has been drawn with Dutchman Joost Luiten, Finland's Mikko Illonen and France's Alexander Levy in the group stage of the prestigious event.

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