A Welsh international rugby player has apologised to fans after missing a match because he was bitten on the hand while trying to pet a lion in South Africa.
Footage of the incident shared on Twitter shows hooker Scott Baldwin attempting to stroke a lion during a pre-match visit to a game park with his Ospreys club teammates.
In the clip, Baldwin can be seen petting the lion’s head before it looks up and bites his hand.
Stroke the Lion it’ll be fine they said! Here’s scottbaldwin2 petting a lion like it’s a pet cat! pic.twitter.com/Y95FObGeJ5— Andy Goode (AndyGoode10) September 29, 2017
The incident meant that Baldwin was unable to join his teammates for their match against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, which they lost 44-25.
A statement from Ospreys confirmed that Baldwin sustained a hand injury on September 27, saying that he was treated for a laceration and admitted to hospital to limit the risk of further infection.
He was due to be discharged on September 30 to travel home with the rest of his squad.
Taking to Twitter following the incident, Baldwin apologised to Ospreys’ fans and said he was recovering from the bite.
1/3 Sorry all Ospreys fans for letting you and the team down by missing the game through the bite!— scott baldwin (@scottbaldwin2) September 30, 2017
2/3 should of know he wouldn’t be impressed with me stroking his lioness before introducing myself to him first AndyGoode10 #MyBad ✋🏼 pic.twitter.com/cSclBsvS72— scott baldwin (scottbaldwin2) September 30, 2017
3/3 and for those asking my hand in on the mend thankfully & should be up & running round soon enough thanks for your support & concern 🙏— scott baldwin (@scottbaldwin2) September 30, 2017
But his apology wasn’t met only with sympathy.
Like team coach Steve Tandy, who dubbed the player “stupid” for attempting to pat a lion “as if it’s a kitten,” fans on Twitter pounced on the opportunity to mock the Welsh sportsman.
Hope u r ok mate. Was ‘roaring’ with laughter at first, not ‘lion’ to you. Make sure u ‘paws’ & think next time! The ‘mane’ thing is ur ok😂🦁— Sean Holley (@_SeanHolley) September 30, 2017
Bitten by a lion then battered by a cheetah. Osprays 0 big cats 2. Stick to hunting fish. pic.twitter.com/HFimqmyUcc— craig maggs (@frankiemaggs70) September 30, 2017
Glad you’re on the mend. Here’s a reminder for you. #cat #lion pic.twitter.com/ZOxaWzC8yX— Welshbird ⚓️ (@Welshbird_) September 30, 2017
Suppose you could have been like the rest of the Ospreys and had a mauling from the cheetahs.— Derek Anderson (@DerekAnderson72) September 30, 2017