Thursday 22 February 2018

Hines relishing chance to get one over on familiar foes Edinburgh

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

HE might play for Scotland, but Nathan Hines remains true to his Australian upbringing when it comes to his laid-back approach to life.

The Leinster second-row goes into Saturday evening's clash with his former club Edinburgh with a chance to get one over on his competitors for international places ahead of Scotland's November Test matches.

So does it increase the pressure? Not one bit, says the man born in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales.

"No, doesn't make a difference to me," Hines says. "It's just another team, you just want to play the best you can, no matter who the opposition is. There would be seven or eight (Edinburgh players in the Scotland squad) maybe, and we're expecting them to play and it'll be a full-strength Edinburgh squad.

"I never have looked at whoever we're playing against and thought 'maybe if I play better now then I might get selected', I just play how I play and the rest is not up to me."

It is a philosophy that has served Hines well in his 64-cap career that has spanned a decade. All of that experience will be called into action on Saturday at the RDS, with Joe Schmidt's side going into battle shy of a host of internationals.

Edinburgh are something of a bogey team for the men in blue, who lost at Murrayfield last month in their worst performance this season so far. But Hines doesn't think playing them so recently bears much weight in the build-up.


"We've got a lot of video on them," he says. "It makes it easier, in that we didn't play them that long ago and we can look at line-outs and the same players and that, but it really doesn't make much difference because you've got to play them twice anyway, so whether it's now or April, it doesn't matter.

"In the forwards, there is Leo (Cullen) and myself so I think there is a little bit more responsibility on us. But the guys who come in, they would have enough experience anyway so I don't think there'll be too much hand-holding to be honest.

"I think we just have to make sure that everyone's up to speed. You don't step back and wait for guys to catch up, you make them run to catch up.

"It's a bit of everything, really. Make sure they do their analysis and what plays we're running and making sure they know where they should be at certain times -- and a lot of that isn't done on the (training) pitch -- and making sure you know before you go on there.

"You don't want to be out there 20 minutes longer than you have to because you keep forgetting where you've got to be, so I think it's just a matter of making sure you know where you've got to be when the calls are made."

Hines has been impressed with Leinster's depth of talent since he joined the province at the start of last season and he is encouraged by the fact that youngsters get opportunities to prove themselves.

"It's strong," he says. "When I was at Perpignan there might have been one or two guys from the academy involved every four or five games.

"But here, with the internationals getting pulled for training and you can only play so many games or whatever, there's plenty of opportunity for the younger guys and it's more beneficial further down the line."

Irish Independent

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