Borders rugby star Stuart Hogg hits out at bite claims after South Africa test defeat

Borders rugby star Stuart Hogg has hit out at claims he bit an opponent during the British and Irish Lions’ 27-9 defeat by South Africa on Saturday, July 31.

Monday, 2nd August 2021, 4:16 pm
Stuart Hogg playing against South Africa for the British and Irish Lions in Cape Town on Saturday (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Those allegations were sparked by a video clip being circulated on social media apparently showing Hogg’s face making contact with Willie le Roux’s left arm during a second-half bust-up at the Cape Town Stadium.

The 29-year-old denies any wrongdoing and has been cleared following a review of footage of the game by disciplinary officials yesterday, August 1.

His Lions team-mate Kyle Sinckler has been cited for biting, however, and will face a ban of at least 12 weeks if that allegation is upheld at a disciplinary hearing tomorrow, August 3.

Rory Sutherland, right, watching South Africa's Faf de Klerk passing the ball during their 27-9 victory over the British and Irish Lions on Saturday (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

That incident is said to have occurred during a 64th-minute ruck.

Former Hawick and Glasgow Warriors player Hogg yesterday issued a statement protesting his innocence, saying: “Following speculation that has surfaced online, I would like to categorically deny any foul play in last night's game.

“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 are 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.”

Hogg played all 80 minutes of Saturday’s second test, as he did for the Lions’ 22-17 victory over the Springboks a week earlier.

He was joined by the touring side’s other Borders player, ex-Hawick and Gala loosehead prop Rory Sutherland, on 55 minutes, replacing Mako Vunipola, a reversal of the previous week’s subbing-off of starter Sutherland on 56 minutes.

Both ex-Greens now face an anxious wait to see if they’ll make it into the matchday squad for the third test as head coach Warren Gatland selects the players he hopes can help the Lions bounce back from their heaviest defeat since 2005 to win the series next Saturday, August 7, at 5pm.

“We'll spend the next couple of days reviewing the game and then looking at what we think is the best 23 to put out,” said Gatland.

“Whether that's some fresh faces who haven’t been involved in the first two games – we have got lots of options to give us energy and perhaps some momentum as well – or do we put out that same team and give them the chance to redeem themselves? Those are the conversations we’ll have over the next couple of days.”