“When you put your hand in a fence where there is a lion, you will get bitten.”
For most people that’s good advice. Unfortunately for Wales and Ospreys hooker Scott Baldwin the advice came a little too late.
That’s because they are the wise words of Baldwin’s boss Steve Tandy, after the 29-year-old missed his team’s latest Pro14 fixture because he had been bitten by a lion. While trying to pet it.
“There was an incident with a lion, but in fairness it was nothing to do with the lion,” Tandy said, clearly keen to absolve the big cat of any blame.
The incident happened during a team trip to Weltevrede Game Lodge on the outskirts of Bloemfontein, before the Ospreys’ Pro14 match against their appropriately named hosts, the Cheetahs.
Everyone present on the visit was, according to Tandy, given plenty of warning not to stick their hand into the lion’s den.
Baldwin apologised on social media afterwards for his misadventure, saying: “Sorry all Ospreys fans for letting you and the team down by missing the game through the bite!
“On the mend thankfully & should be up & running round soon enough thanks for your support & concern.”
But it is fair to say Tandy was far from impressed with Baldwin’s actions.
“It was pretty stupid on Scott’s behalf and he is pretty lucky,” said Tandy. “It had nothing to do with where we were.
“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.
“It’s probably one of the silliest things I’ve even been involved in, but thankfully he is OK and hopefully he will be back up and running in the next couple of weeks.”
Baldwin should recover from his injury to fly back to Wales with the team, after receiving “a couple of stitches” to the wound.
Ospreys were beaten 44-25 in Bloemfontein in Friday’s game against the Cheetahs. Ospreys suffered a record-equalling fourth successive defeat as Cheetahs’ power and pace proved too much for the Welsh team.
Hooker Torsten van Jaarsveld scored two first-half tries and Ernst Stapelberg added a conversion and penalty.
Rhys Webb and Kieron Fonotia struck back and Dan Biggar edged Ospreys briefly ahead late in the first half.
Two Makazole Mapimpi tries and a Johan Coetzee one ensured the bonus point for the hosts.
Dan Evans scored a late consolation try before Francois Venter completed the scoring.
Ospreys made four changes after their three previous defeats with Alun Wyn Jones leading the visitors for the 100th time on his first start of the season.
There were two visiting back-row changes as Guy Mercer came in for the absent Justin Tipuric and James King replaced Dan Baker while wing Jay Baker made his first Pro14 start.
Cheetahs included wing Raymond Rhule after he was released by the Springboks, their only change from their 38-19 win over Leinster.
The hosts were almost immediately on the front foot and hooker van Jaarsveld crossed for his first try from close range after finishing off from 25 metres out at the end of a counter-attack.
Webb produced a trademark dummy and dash to hit back for Ospreys and Fonotia chased Biggar’s grubber kick to add a second try.
A Biggar penalty put Ospreys briefly in front before Makazole Mapimpi squeezed in at the corner.
Ospreys efforts in vain
Biggar and Stapelberg exchanged penalties soon after the break, but after fighting their way back into contention, Ospreys’ efforts proved in vain as the Cheetahs found a new gear.
Coetzee was credited with the try at the bottom of a driving maul that eased home nerves.
But Mapimpi’s try was the second half highlight as he beat Giles to a cross-kick to score at the corner.
Full-back Evans kept his feet out of touch as he went in at the corner to give Ospreys hope, however, the visitors ended the game as they began it, under pressure in their own half, underlined as Venter punished a tired defence.
Cheetahs: Sergeal Petersen; Raymond Rhule, Francois Venter (Captain), William Small-Smith, Makazole Mapimpi; Ernst Stapelberg, Tian Meyer; Charles Marais, Torsten van Jaarsveld, Tom Botha, Justin Basson, Reniel Hugo, Paul Schoeman, Henco Venter, Oupa Mohoje.
Replacements: Jacques du Toit, Ox Nche, Johan Coetzee, Rynier Bernardo, Junior Pokomela, Shaun Venter, Nico Lee, Rosco Specman.
Ospreys: Dan Evans; Keelan Giles, Ben John, James Hook, Jay Baker; Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb; Nicky Smith, Scott Otten, Ma’afu Fia, Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Olly Cracknell, Guy Mercer, James King.
Replacements: Sam Parry, Gareth Thomas, Rhodri Jones, Lloyd Ashley, Dan Lydiate, Tom Habberfield, Sam Davies, Kieron Fonotia.
Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: George Clancy (Ireland), Cwengile Jadezweni (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greef (South Africa).
|Cheetahs (22) 44|
|Tries: Van Jaarsveld 2, Coetzee, Mapimpi 2, Venter Cons: Stapelberg 3, Small-Smith Pens: Stapelberg 2|
|Ospreys (17) 25|
|Tries: Webb, Fonotia, Evans Cons: Biggar 2 Pens: Biggar 2|