Rugby player pays the penalty as lion bites his hand

Wales' Scott Baldwin is taken off the pitch during the Rugby World Cup quarterfinal match between South Africa and Wales at Twickenham Stadium, London, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

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.

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