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Lion bit: ‘I nearly lost my hand’ — Wales rugby star Scott Baldwin reveals



WARNING GRAPHIC IMAGE: After sharing a horror snap of the bite Osprey’s hooker, 29, added: ‘It felt as though I was staring into its soul’

Wakes hooker Scott Baldwin says he’s lucky to still have both hands after being bitten by a LION.

The Ospreys player shared the graphic result of the bite he suffered when petting the big beast at a South African game park last month.

The bite was caught on camera as Baldwin stroked the giant cat through a fence.

And Baldwin, who returned to action with Ospreys at the weekend, has now lifted the lid on what was like when the king of the jungle clasped his jaws around him.

The 29-year-old said: “When you see the video it looks very quick, but for me it felt like a lifetime, it felt as though I was staring into its soul.

“They told me I could lose my hand, I had to have four operations and I missed three matches with the Ospreys. And it was all self-inflicted.

“I had two operations in South Africa, flew home with an IV drip in my arm and then had another two at home. At one stage I was told I would need plastic surgery and could lose my left hand.

A lion turned on Scott Baldwin at a zoo in South Africa (Image: Twitter)
Scott Baldwin’s gruesome wound before and after stitches (Image: @scottbaldwin2/Twitter)

“I think it only hit me how lucky I was when I was in bed the other night. When someone says you can lose your hand, instantly your career is gone.

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“I’m a new father, so it made me think about all the things I might not have been able to do with my son and how I might not have been able to earn a living without my dominant hand – all those things went through my head.

“That really put things into perspective for me and made me realise how very lucky I was.”

Baldwin has always loved lions and wild animals and had earlier spent an hour playing with some lion cubs. Then he got the once in a lifetime opportunity to get up close and personal with some adult lions.

The Wales star was bitten during a visit to a game park (Image: Twitter)

“I petted the female one, with no issues, and when the male sat down I stroked him on his head. Then, silly me, I turned round to give one of the boys my phone to take a picture and, being the king of the jungle, he took his bite,” recalled Baldwin.

The injury suffered by Baldwin after he was bitten is positively gruesome.

Baldwin showed the state of his wound, in its original state and closed by stitches, after four operations.

“3 games missed, 4 ops later & not the result we wanted yesterday but good to be back out with the boys Live&learn LuckyEscape,” he said on social media after his club side were beaten 19-18 by Scarlets in Saturday’s Guinness Pro14 match.

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The lion initially allowed Baldwin to stroke it (Image: Twitter)

Scott has apologised to Ospreys fans after the incident at the Bloemfontein zoo.

One of the lions turned its head and clamps its jaws around his arm before sinking his teeth in.

The men begin to scream and run backwards before sighing with relief when Badlwin manages to break free.

A member of staff tells the player to go and get first aid while the man behind the camera begins to nervously laugh.

Baldwin was in South Africa for their Pro14 game against the Cheetahs, who won 44-25.

Scott, 29, was taken to hospital to receive stitches and treatment against infection.

Coach Steve Tandy had no sympathy for his player, suggesting Baldwin had ignored instruction and attempted to pet the animal.

“There was an incident with a lion, but in fairness it was nothing to do with the lion,” he said in a press conference.

The moment the lion sunk a jaw into the rugby player’s hand (Image: Twitter)
Balwin was bitten on the hand and suffered a nasty wound (Image: Media Wales)

“He did bite Scott but when you put your hand in a fence where there is a lion, then you will get bitten.

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“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.”

Baldwin in action for Wales against Scotland (Image: AFP)

Badlwin then apologised to fans on Twitter.

“Sorry all Ospreys fans for letting you and the team down by missing the game through the bite,” he said.

“Should of known he wouldn’t be impressed with me stroking his lioness before introducing myself to him first. My bad.

“And for those asking my hand in on the mend thankfully & should be up & running round soon enough thanks for your support and concern.”



Victor Moses scores on Turkish debut to seal Fenerbahçe win



Victor Moses, former Super Eagles winger, scored on his debut for struggling Turkish Super League side, Fenerbahçe, in their 2-0 win over Goztepe on Friday evening.

The former Chelsea player, Moses, came on for Andre Ayew, scorer of the first goal, in the 64th minute and sealed the win nine minutes later with his first strike in Turkish football.

Fenerbahçe had won only once in seven league games and flirting with relegation before the arrival of Moses, who is looking to reignite his career after being deemed surplus to requirement at Chelsea.

The wing wizard advanced with the ball just inside the opposition’s half, laid it off for Jailson who returned the favour, picking out the galloping Moses in the six-yard box to finish off the move he started.

The former Wigan player only played twice for the London club since the arrival of coach Mauricio Sarri, and the 28-year-old forward had to join the former Turkish League champions on an 18- month loan deal late in the January transfer window.

Victor Moses abruptly retired from the Super Eagles to focus on his club career but it is hoped that a return to regular club football could make him return to the national team.

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Messi, Maradona plead for Sala search to continue



Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona have joined calls to resume the search for the missing plane carrying Cardiff striker, Emiliano Sala.

Guernsey Police called off the search for Sala and pilot David Ibbotson on Thursday afternoon, but the player’s former club Nantes led calls from across football for it to be resumed.

Barcelona star Messi added his voice to the cause on Friday, writing on his Instagram story, said: “As long as there are still possibilities, a hint of hope, we ask you please continue to look for Emiliano.

“I send all my strength and support to his family and friends. #PrayforSala.”

Another Argentinian football superstar, 1986 World Cup winner Maradona, also posted on Instagram pleading for the search to continue, with the message: “Hope never dies.”

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Out of Play

Neymar gets new lover



Neymar has sparked new rumours regarding his love life after being pictured alongside a Brazilian model, Mari Tavares.

The PSG ace has been single since his tumultuous relationship with long-term partner Bruna Marquezine ended in October.

With Ligue 1 entering a winter break, Neymar enjoys a short festive holiday – and also experiments with new looks having revealed his fake dreadlocks recently.

And while spending Christmas back in his native Brazil, he fuelled romance rumours after being spotted alongside a 20-year-old model Mari Tavares at a party.

The bombshell is an active Instagram user where she often shows off her stunning curves and tattoos to her 175,000 followers.

And although the pair have not been seen showing affection to each other yet, in Brazil Tavares is already thought to be Neymar’s next lover.

The 26-year-old winger has been single since breaking up with his long-term partner Bruna Marquezine in October.

Neymar had been involved in an on-and-off relationship with the 23-year-old Brazilian actress and model for six years before ending it in October.

The Brazil ace was rumoured to have cheated on his ex with a soap opera actress Giovanna Lancellotti, but laughed off the speculations.

It was claimed the couple were at odds over politics ahead of a heated presidential election but Marquezine denied it.

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She said: “It was his decision. I am going to ask that this issue isn’t prolonged because normally I don’t speak about my personal life.

“I have a lot of respect and affection for him and for everything we went through together.

“I just want to clear this point up, because we are living through a critical and dangerous time, a time with a lot of hate and no, the breakup had nothing to do with that [politics].”

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