Offbeat

Wales rugby player pats lion, gets bitten

BLOEMFONTEIN: Wales hooker Scott Baldwin apologised to Ospreys fans on Saturday for being bitten by a lion after stroking the latter’s lioness which forced him to sit out their Pro14 match on Friday.

The 29-year-old — who joined Ospreys in 2009 and has been capped 34 times by Wales — was labelled ‘stupid’ by team coach Steve Tandy after he put his hand through a fence and was bitten by a lion in South Africa.

Baldwin took to twitter to apologise and admit he had made a serious misjudgement in attempting to stroke the lioness.

“Sorry all Ospreys fans for letting you and the team down by missing the game through the bite!” tweeted a contrite Baldwin, along with a video of the incident.

“Should of known he wouldn’t be impressed with me stroking his lioness before introducing myself to him first (adding a hands up icon).

“And for those asking my hand is on the mend thankfully & should be up & running round soon enough thanks for your support & concern (with a hands held in prayer icon),” added Baldwin, who had the wound cleaned and stitched following the incident.

Tandy hadn’t minced his words when he spoke to reporters after the match which Ospreys lost 44-25 to the Cheetahs, a record-equalling fourth defeat in five Pro14 matches for the club.

“It was pretty stupid of Scott and he is pretty lucky,” Tandy told reporters in Bloemfontein on Friday.

“I do not know what kind of wildlife show Scott has been watching where you pat a lion on the head as if it is a kitten.

“It is probably one of the silliest things I have ever been involved in. Thankfully, he is okay and should be playing again in a couple of weeks.”

Tandy cleared the game lodge of any responsibility, saying the visiting Welsh party were told not to stick hands into the lion enclosure.

“It was a good environment and we were told how far back to stand,” said the coach. “It had nothing to do with where we were.”

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