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Hines talks up celtic forces

Leinster's Nathan Hines insists Magners League sides can mix it with the big boys of English rugby ahead of Saturday's Heineken Cup quarter-final against Leicester, writes Donnchadh Boyle.

The forward believes the province have earned their respect by their performances in Europe in recent seasons, regardless of the perception of the Magners League.

"I wouldn't say that because we play in the Magners League we are any less of a force than Leicester just because they play in England," said Hines, who was once linked with a move to the Tigers.

"I'm pretty sure that our results against teams outside of the Magners League would speak for themselves.

"I hope that Leicester do see it that way; fair enough if they don't, but we can't really change that with what we do on Saturday if they have that opinion."

The Australian-born Scottish international, who is leaving Leinster having agreed a two-year deal with Clermont, sees the forward battle as key.

"They bring their physicality every weekend. But the thing is, we have to fight fire with fire and on a couple of occasions we have done it this year. We've just got to make sure we bring that intensity.

"We're disappointed from last weekend (at Munster). But I think we'll look at every situation -- not based on last weekend -- and take them forward into this weekend.

"We were pretty frustrated from last weekend but obviously all our energies and thoughts are going into beating Leicester."

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