The incident happened during a team visit to the Weltevrede Game Lodge on the outskirts of Bloemfontein, prior to the Ospreys Pro14 match against the Cheetahs.
— scott baldwin (@scottbaldwin2) September 30, 2017
“There was an incident with a lion, but in fairness it was nothing to do with the lion,” Ospreys coach Steve Tandy said.
Tandy confirmed that everyone present had been given plenty of warning not to stick their hands into the lion’s den. Baldwin, the Ospreys’ hooker, decided not to heed the warnings.
The 29-year-old attempted to pet the lion, earning a bite that required stitches as a “thank you”, ruling him out of Friday evening’s match.
“It was pretty stupid on Scott’s behalf and he is pretty lucky,” Tandy said.
“It had nothing to do with where we were. It was a good environment and we were told how far back to stand,” Tandy continued.
“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 OK and hopefully he will be back up and running in the next couple of weeks.”
The match ended with Ospreys being mauled by the Cheetahs, as the visitors went down 25-44 and incurred a fourth successive defeat.