Hock receives five-game ban for gouging incident


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The Independent Online

Wigan's Gareth Hock has been banned for five games for a gouging incident during Sunday's defeat at Warrington, thus effectively ending his season.

The Test forward, recently returned from a two-year drugs ban, was suspended for four games for gouging the eyes of Ben Harrison and an extra match for punching him. Hock could have been suspended for eight matches for the gouging offence alone.

Ryan McGoldrick, of Castleford, has been banned for two matches for striking Sam Obst during their match against Hull.

Richard Agar is to leave Hull at the end of the season, with their new director of rugby, Shaun McRae, handed the responsibility for finding his successor as coach.

Agar has been in charge for the past four seasons and was an assistant for three years before that. He has just steered Hull into the play-offs, so the timing of the announcement is interesting to say the least. He is now expected to take the coaching job at Wakefield.

"I leave with pride that we have built a quality squad and culture," Agar said. "I have numerous happy memories and the two Challenge Cup finals and Grand Final are an obvious highlight." Both he and the club angrily denied reports last month that he would be leaving. Wests Tigers' assistant, Peter Gentle, is the favourite for the Hull post.

McRae's appointment, though, is a bigger surprise than the departure of Agar. He previously coached Hull between 2004 and 2008, but left his job at Salford this season after being on sick leave with depression. "I'm delighted to be returning to Hull FC and I'm honoured to be part of the exciting times that lie ahead," he said.