Sam Tomkins rallies around Flower

England full-back Sam Tomkins has thrown his support behind suspended Wigan forward Ben Flower, saying although he’ll have to “cop some stick”, the sport should now look after him, and help him through his ban.

Tomkins played with Flower at Wigan last season, and insisted to reporters this week that he is not a dirty player, despite the attack on Lance Hohaia which earned him a red card, the first ever in a Super League Grand Final.

He believes that although it is inevitable Flower will get some stick for the incident, he will bounce back from the suspension in a positive manner.

“He’s going to get some stick for it from opposing fans, but other people have had that – I could probably give him a few tips on how to deal with boos from other fans,” Tomkins said. “Ben’s a strong character, and I’m sure he’ll let rugby do the talking.

“He’s been with the team for a couple of years; he’s moved away from his family and he’s been a brilliant player for this club. This is the most media coverage he’ll get, and it’s a shame it’s not about playing.

“He’s a good bloke and I know he’s not a malicious or dirty person. I was a bit gutted for him that he made a poor choice. It’s obviously going to get spoken about and Ben will have to cop some stick.

“But as a sport we should look after him; it’s tough for him, think what he’s going through. However, I’m sure he’ll be fine.”