‘SORRY FOR LET­TING YOU DOWN’

Wales star Bald­win’s apol­ogy to fans after get­ting bit­ten by a lion

Wales On Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - DELME PARFITT Re­porter delme.parfitt@waleson­line.co.uk

THIS is the mo­ment a lion clamped its jaws around Wales hooker Scott Bald­win’s hand. The Ospreys star was forced to miss his region’s Guin­ness PRO14 clash against the Chee­tahs in South Africa on Fri­day after be­ing in­jured in the in­ci­dent.

Bald­win missed the game in Bloem­fontein and needed stitches to a wound on his hand after a team visit to Wel­tevre­den Game Lodge to see some of the wildlife in the run-up to the match.

He put his hand through a fence to stroke the an­i­mal but it took ex­cep­tion and clamped its jaws down on the Wales No 2’s out­stretched hand, us­ing a paw as lever­age.

Bald­win was quickly free but not be­fore cry­ing out in pain.

It meant he was un­avail­able for the game, which the Ospreys lost 44-25, and his coach Steve Tandy de­scribed his ac­tions as “stupid”.

Now Bald­win has taken to his Twit­ter ac­count and, in a se­ries of three posts, said: “Sorry all Ospreys fans for let­ting you and the team down by miss­ing the game through the bite!

“Should have known he wouldn’t be im­pressed with me stroking his li­on­ess be­fore in­tro­duc­ing my­self to him first.

“And for those ask­ing, my hand is on the mend thank­fully and should be up and run­ning soon enough. Thanks for your sup­port and con­cern.”

While the story has had many in the rugby fra­ter­nity chuck­ling, even though it could have been much worse, coach Tandy was largely unim­pressed.

He said after the Ospreys’ de­feat: “There was an in­ci­dent with a lion, it’s nothing to do with the lion in all fair­ness to it but he did bite Scott.

“When you put your hand into a fence and there’s a lion in there, you can ex­pect to get bit.

“He had plenty of warn­ing, so it’s pretty stupid on Scott’s be­half. He’s pretty lucky.

“It’s nothing to do with where we were, it was a good en­vi­ron­ment, we’d been told how far back to stand.

“I don’t know what sort of wildlife pro­gramme Scott has been watch­ing, [that says you can] pat a lion as if it’s a kit­ten.

“It’s prob­a­bly one of the sil­li­est things I’ve ever been in­volved in but thank­fully he’s OK and hope­fully he’ll be back up and run­ning in the next cou­ple of weeks.

“It’s not too se­ri­ous, he’s had it cleaned out and had a cou­ple of stitches.”

Ospreys prop Paul James en­joy­ing a close en­counter with a lion cub

Rhys Webb get­ting licked by a cub

James Hook hav­ing a cud­dle

The shock­ing mo­ment Wales hooker Scott Bald­win was bit­ten by a lion dur­ing the Ospreys’ trip to Bloem­fontein

Kee­lan Giles’ new furry friend

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