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Wallabies official quits due to 'stress'

The Wallabies team official at the centre of the Kurtley Beale row, team business manager Di Patston, has quit her job because of "stress relating to recent events", the Australian Rugby Union said.

Utility back Beale (pictured) was suspended on Thursday pending a hearing into allegations he distributed "deeply offensive" text messages about Patston in June.

That move came while the ARU was considering disciplinary action against Beale after his mid-air slanging match with Patston as the Wallabies travelled from South Africa to Argentina for their final Rugby Championship test.

According to local media reports, the row was sparked by Patston's request that Beale change his shirt but the controversy became a touchstone for concerns about her role and her relationship with coach Ewen McKenzie.

In an extraordinary news conference on Friday, McKenzie was forced to deny he was involved in an intimate relationship with Patston, who he brought with him to the ARU from the Queensland Rugby Union.

Flower sorry

Wigan prop Ben Flower has apologised for his attack on St Helens rival Lance Hohaia during Saturday's Super League Grand Final.

Flower became the first player to be sin-binned or sent off in a Super League title decider when he was shown a red card after only two minutes for an act of violence that shocked the 70,000 crowd at Old Trafford and millions more watching on TV.

The 26-year-old Wales international was still trending on Twitter 15 hours after flooring Hohaia with a right hook and then landing another punch to the face as his opponent lay motionless.

Yesterday he felt moved to apologise for his actions, insisting there was "no defence" for the way he had behaved.

He said in a statement: "I am so sorry for what happened on Saturday night.

"There is no defence for my actions. It was something that happened in the heat of the moment when our emotions and adrenaline were running high. I instantly regretted it and am devastated that I allowed myself to punch someone like this."