The Ospreys have confirmed that Wales international Scott Baldwin missed the 44-25 Guinness Pro14 defeat to the Cheetahs after being bitten by a lion in Bloemfontein.
The incident happened at a game park ahead of the Ospreys’ first foray into South Africa, and Baldwin required medical treatment which forced him to miss the game.
Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy said it was "stupid" of the player after repeated warnings, and admitted Baldwin was lucky he required only a few stitches.
"There was an incident with a lion, but in fairness it was nothing to do with the lion," he said.
"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."
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Many of the Ospreys' players, including Paul James, James Hook and Keelan Giles, posted pictures of themselves holding cubs on Wednesday during a visit to Weltevreden Game Lodge.
Tandy confirmed the hooker would return to Wales with the rest of the squad tomorrow.
"Thankfully he's okay and hopefully he'll be back up and running in the next couple of weeks."