Hines ready for Toulon's physicality

Date published: May 16 2013

Clermont lock Nathan Hines expects a huge physical confrontation in Saturday's Heineken Cup Final against Toulon in Dublin.

Clermont lock Nathan Hines expects a huge physical confrontation in Saturday's Heineken Cup Final against Toulon in Dublin.

Toulon's pack boasts several players who thrive on physical domination and Hines, who scored a try in Leinster's 2011 final win over Northampton Saints, knows it won't be a walk in the park this weekend.

“You have guys like Bakkies Botha, Danie Rossouw and Chris Masoe in the Toulon line-up, and they're not exactly going to come out and start tickling you in a ruck are they?” Hines told the ERC's official website.

“So, yeah, you could say it's going to be physical.”

The 36-year-old former Scotland international believes the side that deals best with the physical pressure will win their first Heineken Cup title.

“I feel really comfortable at the Aviva, but obviously, that doesn't mean we won't have to work really hard to win. Playing against Toulon, it's all about pressure,” he explained.

“They have strong forwards and power-runners, so there's danger pretty much everywhere. If we can cope with the pressure, stay out of our own half and keep them in theirs, then like in any rugby game, you're on your way to making it easier for yourself.

“Saturday won't be just about preventing Jonny Wilkinson from controlling the game. He certainly puts Toulon in the right parts of the pitch, then they turn the screw, they make you make mistakes, and then the penalties come. Jonny finishes what his team creates, so it goes without saying that discipline will be incredibly important.”

If Clermont are successful this weekend, Hines will become the fifth player in history after Philippe Carbonneau (Toulouse and Brive), Cedric Heymans (Brive and Toulouse), Federico Mendez (Bath and Northampton Saints) and Eoin Reddan (London Wasps and Leinster) to win the trophy with different clubs.

Despite his experience, he does not expect to pass on tips of his previous final experience to his team-mates.

“We have a lot of leaders in the side, guys who've played in a World Cup final and in Challenge Cup finals, so while we know that this will be a high-pressure match, we've played a few pressure games before,” he added.

“I don't think we're under any particular pressure to deliver on Saturday. It has been an objective of the club to win the French Championship and to win the Heineken Cup, and our sole aim this weekend is to win the Heineken. What people are saying about who's favourites doesn't really bother us at all. How we want to play is more pressing than any degree of expectation.”