Wales hooker Scott Baldwin has apologised after being bitten on the hand while trying to pet a lion in South Africa, causing him to miss Ospreys’ defeat to the Cheetahs in their Pro14 match on Friday.
The 29-year-old was described as “stupid” by Ospreys coach Steve Tandy after suffering the wound, which needed stitches, during a pre-match visit to a game park.
Baldwin took to social media on Saturday to apologise.
“Sorry all Ospreys fans for letting you and the team down by missing the game through the bite!” he said on his verified Twitter account.
“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 round soon enough, thanks for your support and concern.”
Baldwin came in for a ribbing from his coach after Friday’s 44-25 defeat at the Free State Stadium, where Tandy explained the incident to the media in candid terms.
— Andy Goode (@AndyGoode10) September 29, 2017
“There was an incident with a lion, but in fairness it was nothing to do with the lion. He did bite Scott but when you put your hand in a fence where there is a lion, then you will get bitten.
“It was pretty stupid on Scott’s behalf and he is pretty lucky… I don’t know what sort of wildlife show Scott has been watching where you can pat a lion on the head as if it’s a kitten.
“It’s probably one of the silliest things I’ve ever been involved in, but thankfully he is okay and hopefully he will be back up and running in the next couple of weeks.”
The club confirmed that Baldwin had suffered the injury on Wednesday and said he was treated at the scene by the team doctor before being admitted to a local hospital in Bloemfontein on Thursday for further treatment to prevent infection.
He was released on Saturday to travel home with the rest of the squad as planned.