Former Wigan prop Ben Flower has returned to his native Wales following his retirement from rugby league and has joined rugby union side Pontypool.
The 33-year-old recently announced his retirement from rugby league having made more than 250 career appearances for Crusaders, Wigan and Leigh.
Ben Flower, who won 17 caps for Wales in rugby league, will play in Welsh rugby union’s third tier next season after agreeing to join Pontypool for the 2021-22 season.
Ben Flower on signing for Pontypool
He said: “I cannot wait to get to Pontypool Park and to get stuck into training and playing my part in helping Pooler achieve its ambitions.
“I want to help the team in any way I can. Ultimately, I want to enjoy the remainder of my playing career because when you’re having fun, you play your best rugby.
“I’ve been really impressed with the professionalism of the club and I’m looking forward to being around a good group of lads. It’s going to be a great season and I’m looking forward to getting going and coming back home.
“It’s also really special for me to be joining the club. My uncle, Stephen Flower, played for Pontypool for several years throughout the 1980s and to follow in his footsteps means a lot. When I walk up those steps for the first time on game day, it’s going to be a fantastic feeling knowing I’ll be representing this club.”
"When I walk up those steps for the first time on game day, it’s going to be a fantastic feeling."@PontypoolRFC is pleased to announce the signing of Ben Flower ahead of the 2021-2022 WRU National Championship season.
— Pontypool RFC (@PontypoolRFC) September 27, 2021
Pontypool coach Leighton Jones said: “This is an excellent signing for Pontypool on many levels. Ben’s quality as a player speaks for itself. He is a formidable competitor who knows what is required to succeed at the highest level, time and time again. His experience will be a huge asset to us throughout what will be quite an unusual season.
“But that experience is also going to pay dividends on a wider scale. We pride ourselves on developing young talent at the club. Ben’s perspectives on the game will no doubt help improve our up-and-coming players, who will certainly learn a lot from such a seasoned professional.”
Flower won three Super League titles, a Challenge Cup and aWorld Club Challenge with Wigan in rugby league.