Lions prop Sinckler cited for biting in loss to Springboks

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — British and Irish Lions prop Kyle Sinckler has been cited for allegedly biting a South Africa player during the gruelling second test in Cape Town.

Sinckler was surprisingly the only player called out by World Rugby on Sunday, a day after the highly charged clash that the Springboks won 27-9 to level the series.

Earlier Sunday, Lions fullback Stuart Hogg released a statement to deny the same charge after footage appeared on social media questioning whether he bit Springboks opposite Willie le Roux.

It was also widely expected that a collision by Springboks wing Cheslin Kolbe on an airborne Conor Murray would be cited by the world governing body.

But World Rugby ordered only Sinckler to attend an independent disciplinary hearing on Tuesday for allegedly biting someone in the 64th minute, and there were no more citings after a full review of the match.

Hogg insisted he would never bite an opponent after the social media uproar.

Though the footage was inconclusive, Le Roux seemed to immediately turn to referee Ben O’Keeffe to complain.

“Following speculation that has surfaced online, I would like to categorically deny any foul play in last night’s game,” Hogg said in a statement on Sunday. ”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.”

Before the video surfaced, Lions coach Warren Gatland had already refused to discuss the refereeing when he was questioned about the yellow card handed to Kolbe in the first half for colliding with a jumping Murray.

“I'm not going to comment on the referee's decisions,” Gatland said. ”It didn’t look great from where I was, but he decided it was a yellow card.”

Gatland was also quizzed about the unconventional 62-minute video released by South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus on social media that critiqued Australian referee Nic Berry's performance during the first test won by the Lions 22-17.

“We’ve got systems and processes in place, and hopefully World Rugby does look at that in terms of making sure that everyone follows the protocols and I think that’s important,” Gatland said. ”I hope it doesn't get to a situation where we end up with things on Twitter, and people airing their views in that way and not through the proper channels.”

The final test is on Saturday, also at Cape Town Stadium.

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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