THE BRITISH & IRISH LIONS squad have been hit with a ‘biting’ citation following yesterday’s bad-tempered second Test defeat to South Africa in Cape Town, but contrary to social media speculation overnight it will not be Scottish full-back Stuart Hogg in the dock at Tuesday’s disciplinary hearing.
It is replacement tight-head prop Kyle Sinckler who has been cited by Scott Nowland of Australia for what governing body World Rugby described as “an act of foul play contrary to Law 9.12 (biting) during the 64th minute of the second test against South Africa in Cape Town on 31 July, 2021”.
Biting carries a low-end punishment of a 12-week ban, which can be reduced once mitigating factors are taken into account. If Sinckler is found guilty and banned then Scot Zander Fagerson will almost certainly step up into the Lions’ match-day squad for next Saturday’s third and deciding Test against the Springboks.
Earlier today [Sunday], Hogg felt compelled to have the Lions media team issue a statement on his behalf in which he strongly rejected claims that he had bitten opposite number Willie Le Roux during Saturday’s match after inconclusive video and photo footage of his mouth area being close to Le Roux’s arm prompted some keyboard Warriors to jump to the worst conclusion.
“Following speculation that has surfaced online, I would like to categorically deny any foul play in last night’s game,” said the Lions No 15 in an official statement issued by the tourists this morning. “I would never bite an opponent and I am annoyed and upset by this unsubstantiated accusation. I’ve always been proud of playing rugby in the spirit of the game.
“Respect to the Springboks for their deserved win yesterday. The squad is hurting after last night’s defeat, but it’s all to play for next week. It’s going to be a cup final and everyone’s going to be up for it.”
Meanwhile, the Springboks have bee boosted ahead of the third Test by the return to the squad of No8 Duane Vermeulen who missed the first two matches against the Lions due to an ankle injury.
Jaden Hendrikse has also been called into the squad as scrum-half cover.
An injury update on starting scrum-half Faf de Klerk, who appeared to be nursing a hip problem when he was replaced in the 63rd minute of Saturday’s match, and Pieter-Steph du Toit, who picked up an upper arm injury earlier in the game, is expected on Tuesday.