Rugby’s Baldwin hand fears after lion bite

Welsh international hooker Scott Baldwin was afraid he’d lose his left hand to infection after being bitten while petting a lion in South Africa.

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 last month to a game park ahead of a Pro14 match against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

“The infection was the major issue,” the 29-year-old told the BBC. “The next day, it started tracking up my arm. The surgeon said there was a chance I could lose my hand.”

Baldwin underwent two operations in South Africa before flying to Swansea to consult a plastic surgeon and said he was extremely fortunate not to have suffered a worse injury.

“The bite went straight through the other side of the hand,” Baldwin added.

“But I was really lucky it didn’t hit any tendons or ligaments. The surgeon said it was like winning the lottery … it was the best possible outcome considering I had been bitten by a lion.”

With his stitches out, Baldwin hopes to return to training in the coming week but will make a final call after meeting his coach and medical teams.

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