Andy did kill a lion with his bare hands (albeit after holding a large calibre rifle in the same hands!)
Andy was farming in the Zimba area of Zambia. A lion had been killing livestock in the area so Andy and his African assistant went off to deal with the miscreant. They tracked the lion down and Andy mortally wounded the lion which took off into the bush. Andy and his assistant followed a heavy blood spoor. This streetwise lion was waiting behind a thornbush and before Andy could loose of a killing shot, the lion pounced on top of him. The African assistant, who was also armed with a rifle, took fright and ran back to the farm to seek help.
Although dying, Mr Lion proceeded to deal with Andy: He bit off part of his ear and attempted to crush Andy's head in his massive jaws, all the while doing much damage to Andy's legs and lower body with his clew claws. Andy jammed his one hand into the lion's jaws to protect his face and had some fingers bitten off. Andy then decided to play dead, and the lion now weakening rapidly, moved off a short distance to die. Andy waited a while until there was quiet, and tried to move away. The big feline returned and attacked him again. This cat and mouse game went on for a while. Eventually the lion died.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the assistant had arrived and told Andy's brother the sad tale. They took off in the Landrover to find Andy.
Back in the bush, Andy, covered with congealing blood and dust, was making his way back home along the bush track. The African assistant in his nervous state was not to sure how far or where the attack site was. In the haste and confusion they drove right past the hapless Andy on the road. The black congealed blood and dust covered him head to foot and his rescue party thought him to be an African traveller who had fallen on bad times! Eventually after turning back they found Andy who by that time had almost made it back to the farmhouse.
After a six-hour operation, during which surgeons used 400 stitches to close his wounds, Andy, who played for the Springboks, had one request: "Make sure I get the lion skin."