Perfect preparation for Clermont

Date published: April 25 2013

Clermont lock Nathan Hines says victory over Toulouse was ideal preparation for Saturday's Heineken Cup showdown with Munster.

Clermont lock Nathan Hines says last week's victory against Toulouse was ideal preparation for Saturday's Heineken Cup semi-final against Munster.

Clermont lived up to their favourites tag with a commanding, four-try 39-17 victory over the French champions which saw Sitiveni Sivivatu cross twice.

Les Jaunards stumbled at the semi-final hurdle last year against Leinster, with whom Hines won the title in 2011, but he says he has not been called upon to provide any inside knowledge on Saturday's opponents gleaned from his two seasons in Ireland.

“The backroom staff here are pretty good,” said the British and Irish Lions second row, who will make his 76th Heineken Cup appearance this weekend.

“They don't need me to tell them just how much quality Munster can bring to a Heineken Cup knock-out game – particularly after their win away to Harlequins.

“That's not an arrogance on our part. We focus on our Top 14 games from week to week and last week our focus was on Toulouse, that's a huge game for us. We wouldn't be getting ahead of ourselves and looking at Munster before time, not at all.

“The game against Toulouse was very good preparation for us – it's a high pressure game in front of a big crowd, so it's obviously going to replicate the conditions you'd face in the Heineken Cup game.

“As long as nobody gets injured then you can't get better preparation than a big game. Still, a player can get injured walking onto the field for a training session, that's a risk that's always there anyway.

“Vern brings a New Zealand approach to organisation, which is probably a more Anglo-Saxon approach than French.

“That makes Clermont different to other clubs in France – here we just have to concentrate on our rugby and everything else is looked after for us.”