Scotland captain and Lions full-back Stuart Hogg has been cleared of biting his South African opposite number Willie Le Roux in Saturday’s second test, but team-mate Kyle Sinckler will be investigated.
Video that went viral on social media after the 27-9 victory for the Springboks appeared to show Hogg’s mouth on Le Roux’s upper arm in the fracas which occurred after South African wing Cheslin Kolbe took out Conor Murray in the air.
What do you make of this incident that sparked a scuffle between British & Irish Lions fullback Stuart Hogg and opposite number Wille le Roux?https://t.co/Sxnmvk3CGg
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) July 31, 2021
The Lions took the rare step of issuing an official statement from Hogg refuting any suggestion that he had bitten Le Roux.
“Following speculation that has surfaced online, I would like to categorically deny any foul play in last night’s game,” read the statement from the Scot.
“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.”
The citing commissioner for Saturday’s second test was Scott Nowland of Australia, and later in the day he did make one citation for a Lions player accused of biting – but it was replacement prop Sinckler.
The Bristol tight-head, who came on late in the second half for Tadhg Furlong, is accused of biting Springbok second row Franco Mostert after a ruck just after the hour mark.
Mostert emerged from the ruck studying his forearm and Springbok skipper Siya Kolisi appears to have brought the incident to the attention of referee Ben O’Keeffe, who tells him that it could only be dealt with after the game.
A hearing concerning the matter will be held on Tuesday – the day the Lions were expected to name their third test team. Last night the Lions issued a release stating they would do no media interviews on Monday.
Further incidents highlighted on social media including an alleged incident when lock Maro Itoje held a player down with his knee, and alleged dangerous tackles by Springboks Faf de Klerk and Cheslin Kolbe have not been deemed worthy of attention by Nowland.
Asked about incidents in the game in the aftermath, Lions coach Warren Gatland said that they would watch the tape before making any decision.
“We’ll have a look at it and if there’s any issues we’ll go through the right channels,” he said.
“I won’t be going through social media to express my views,” he said, in an obvious reference to South African director of rugby Rassie Erasmus’ hour-long video of complaints against refereeing decisions in the first test.