Ben Flower, the Wigan prop, has apologised for attacking St Helen's Lance Hohaia during Saturday night's Super League Grand Final.
Flower punched Hohaia as he lay stricken on the ground in a disgraceful incident at Old Trafford (see below), where he was sent off after just minutes.
St Helens went on to win the match 14-6.
"I am so sorry for what happened last night," said Flower in a statement on the Wigan website.
"There is no defence for my actions. It was something that happened in the heat of the moment when our emotions and adrenaline was running high. I instantly regretted it and am devastated that I allowed myself to punch someone like this.
"At Wigan we are known for being aggressive but we are constantly told to do this within the rules of the game and that punching isn't tough. We may aim to dominate teams, but we don't aim to hurt people.
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"I firstly offer my apologies to Lance. I have full respect for him and have never gone onto a rugby field to injure a fellow player. I hope he is ok.
"I'd also like to say sorry to my teammates, our fans and the Wigan Club. I know I've let them down like never before and accept I'll have to live with this for the rest of my career.
"Finally, I'm sorry to the sport of Rugby League. It was a big night and I know I've taken the attention away from what was a special event."Reuse content