Clermont second-row Nathan Hines is hoping that home field advantage will play a part when they face Montpellier at Stade Marcel Michelin.
Clermont second-row Nathan Hines is hoping that home field advantage will play a part when they face Montpellier at Stade Marcel Michelin on Saturday.
The Scotland international has been a rock for Les Jaunards over the past two seasons and is preparing for a tough clash against their rivals.
Hines, who won the Heineken Cup with Leinster, has seen the home side win their respective games in the Top 14 but knows this is different.
“Despite this being an all-French encounter, it will be a whole new ball-game for both teams,” Hines told ERC Rugby ahead of Saturday's match.
“It will be nothing like playing in the Top 14 championship because it is all or nothing – lose and you are gone. We still feel the pain of losing to Leinster in last year's semi-final and we don't want to feel so low again.”
Montpellier won 13-8 at Stade Yves du Manoir but Clermont prevailed 36-18 at Marcel Michelin in the Top 14 this year, as Hines prepares to face fellow Scot Johnnie Beattie.
“Montpellier have emerged as a very powerful young team who are very aggressive up front. They have a lot of physicality – and even their bigger guys like Johnnie can chuck the ball around,” he added.
“We don't regard ourselves as favourites. I reckon it is more like a 50-50 situation.
“Johnnie and his mates will be coming here to attack and win, but we have not lost for three years on our own pitch and that creates its own pressure.”