Stuart Hogg has staunchly protested his innocence after he was left facing accusations of biting South Africa’s Willie le Roux in the British & Irish Lions’ second Test defeat by the Springboks.
South Africa supporters rounded on Hogg after footage emerged of an altercation between both full-backs during an ill-tempered match, won 27-9 by the Springboks to level the series going into Saturday’s decider. The footage is inconclusive but the finger was pointed at Hogg, as well as at Maro Itoje, after a video clip of another incident surfaced. Itoje can be seen kneeling on the chest and neck area of Damian de Allende.
Hogg said in a statement: “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.”
The statement continued: “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 window for disciplinary action to be brought has been extended to 24 ure, meaning the authorities have until later on Sunday to announce any charges. South Africa’s Cheslin Kolbe could also face action after escaping a red card for taking out Conor Murray in the air, as could Faf de Klerk after his no-arms high tackle on the Lions scrum-half.