Rugby player pays the penalty as lion bites his hand

BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa (AP) — A Welsh rugby player had an unusual reason for missing a big game in South Africa: A lion bit his hand.

Scott Baldwin was taken to the hospital to receive stitches and treatment against infection after ignoring instructions about not touching a lion during the trip to a game park in South Africa.

His coach was not sympathetic.

"When you put your hand in a fence where there is a lion, then you will get bitten," Ospreys coach Steve Tandy said. "It was pretty stupid on Scott's behalf and he is pretty lucky. It was a good environment and we were told how far back to stand.

"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."

The 29-year-old Baldwin also plays as a hooker for Wales' national team. He was with Welsh club Ospreys in Bloemfontein for a PRO14 league game against a South African franchise ironically called Cheetahs on Friday.

Without Baldwin, Ospreys lost 44-25.

The incident took place on Thursday.

"Sorry all Ospreys fans for letting you and the team down by missing the game through the bite!" Baldwin said on Twitter , where he also uploaded a video of the incident.

"On the mend thankfully & should be up & running round soon enough thanks for your support & concern."

Ospreys said Baldwin would be released from hospital on Saturday to travel home with the rest of the squad.