Flower hoping for early Leigh debut

Ben Flower says he can’t wait to start helping Leigh continue to prove their doubters wrong.

A hamstring injury denied the newly-signed Wales forward a debut as John Duffy’s side pushed Wigan close before going down by two points in Friday’s exciting top-flight opener.

But the 33-year-old, who played Super League rugby for Crusaders before joining Wigan in 2012, says he’s well on the road to recovery and ready to throw his weight behind the Centurions’ battle for survival.

Cardiff-born Flower, a former Newport Gwent Dragons union player who represented Wales at various age group levels before switching to Rugby League, joined Leigh in November, before their elevation to Super League in place of Toronto Wolfpack was confirmed.

That left the club facing a race against time to assemble a squad capable of competing against the game’s biggest clubs, with Australian hooker Nathan Peats the latest addition.

“We know what’s coming, and we know people have written us off,” said Flower, a three-time title winner with Wigan and a member of the 2017 World Club Challenge-winning team.

“But we don’t feel that way, and while we know there are big challenges ahead, we also know we have some good quality players, with the chance of maybe adding a few more, and we certainly aren’t overawed.

“We don’t worry what other people say, we know what we can do, and that we can upset a few teams.”

After so long at Wigan, Flower admits life is different at Leigh, adding: “It felt strange to start with, but I’ve settled well, and a change gives you a lift.

“There was some sadness in leaving Wigan without being able to say a proper goodbye to the fans.

“I had a great time there and I think they are building something special, but as a player, you are passing through. That’s the way it goes.

“Now I have a fantastic opportunity to help Leigh, and I’m looking forward to getting going.”

Former South Sydney, Parramatta and Gold Coast Titans player Peats is due to fly into the UK this week.

The 30-year-old featured in the 2017 State of Origin series for New South Wales and has also played for the Indigenous All Stars and New South Wales City Origin representative sides.

“Nathan will bring a wealth of experience,” said coach Duffy.

“He’s looking forward to joining our club and getting stuck in.

“He will augment the competitive squad that we have put together and he will add his own qualities.”

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