Wales international Scott Baldwin feared losing hand after bitten by a lion

Scott Baldwin was bitten by a lion in South Africa
Scott Baldwin was bitten by a lion in South Africa

Wales international Scott Baldwin feared that he had lost his left hand after he was bitten by a lion during the recent tour of South Africa last month.

Baldwin, who was with his Ospreys team-mates to take on Cheetahs in Bloemfontein suffered a serious infection after he was bitten while stroking the lion at the Weltevrede Game Lodge.

"The infection was the major issue," Baldwin told BBC Radio 5 live's Rugby Union Weekly podcast. "The next day it started tracking up my arm. The surgeon said there was a chance I could lose my hand due to the infection.

"The first day our doctor cleaned it out and stitched it up. But the following day we went to the hospital after it had become infected.

"I had my first operation on the Thursday, second operation on the Friday, and then I was allowed to fly home Saturday on the understanding I had an IV (intravenous) drip and went straight to hospital when I got back.

"I was transferred to Morrison hospital in Swansea to see a plastic surgeon, and he cleaned it out once more.

"Because they had packed it with all stuff to stop the infection, my skin was so loose he didn't have to take a skin graft, so I was really fortunate there."

Despite the setback, 29-year-old could return to action soon after having avoided a serious injury.

"The bite went straight through the other side of the hand, but I was really lucky it didn't hit any tendons or ligaments," added Baldwin.

"The surgeon said it was like winning the lottery. He said it was the best possible outcome I could have had after being bitten by a lion."

Baldwin stated that Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy described the incident as "pretty stupid" and further added that he may return to action as early as next weekend when Ospreys visit Allianz Park to take on Saracens in the European Champions Cup.

"I've had the stitches out and hopefully will be back in training sometime in the coming week," said Baldwin.

"I'm hoping to be available for this week, if all things go well. But that's my thought process, I don't know about the coaches and medical teams, but that's what I've got in my head.

"Steve Tandy has said we just need to get past it now. It is what it is, we just need to move on now."