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Ospreys hooker Scott Baldwin pays tribute to surgeon who saved his hand following lion bite

Scott Baldwin with Faf Weyers and his family. (Photo / Twitter)

Ospreys hooker Scott Baldwin has paid tribute to the surgeon who saved his left hand two years ago after a lion bite it during a team trip to a wildlife park in Bloemfontein.

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In South Africa to face the Cheetahs during the 2017/18 Pro14 season, Baldwin put his hand into a lion’s enclosure to pat the head of a male lion.

The move backfired on him, though, as the lion lifted its head and bit the 34-test rake’s hand, an injury of which required four operations and ruled him out for three matches.

Returning to Bloemfontein for the first time since the ordeal, Baldwin sought out the surgeon that saved his hand, Faf Weyers, and presented him and his family with his match jersey following Ospreys’ 31-14 win over the Cheetahs during the weekend.

Weyers’ operation on Baldwin’s hand prevented an infection from spreading through his hand to the rest of his body.

30-year-old Baldwin, who last played for Wales in June 2017, revealed to the BBC shortly after the bite that the incident could have cost him his arm.

“The infection was the major issue,” he said.

“The next day it started tracking up my arm. The surgeon said there was a chance I could lose my hand.

“The surgeon said [after the operation] it was the best possible outcome considering I had been bitten by a lion.”

Waratahs defence coach Steve Tandy, who was Ospreys head coach at the time of Baldwin’s mishap, labelled his former hooker’s actions “pretty stupid”, and said Baldwin was “pretty lucky”.

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“But when you put your hand in a fence where there is a lion, then you will get bitten,” he said at the time.

“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.”

Despite the potential severity the injury could have had on both his career and his life off-field, Baldwin appears to see the funny side of proceedings, with his Twitter bio reading: “Yes, I’m that guy that got bitten by a ?”.

Baldwin is set to leave Ospreys at the end of this season after a 10-year, 163-appearance spell with the club, departing for Premiership club Harlequins.

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