Hines targets Bok lineout
Edinburgh – Nathan Hines believes his inclusion at blindside flank in the Scotland line-up for Saturday’s Test at Murrayfield will help counter South Africa’s lineout threat.
“It also came as a surprise to me,” the veteran lock said when quizzed about being picked as a loose forward.
“Andy Robinson (Scotland coach) called me in on Monday and asked whether I would be able to handle it. I’m fine with it and I think it can make our lineout more potent. South Africa have a good lineout and we will now have more options,” said Hines.
Scotland will look to keep the ball as far away from Springbok captain Victor Matfield as possible. With a lock pairing of Richie Gray and Scott MacLeod, as well as Hines on the flank, it is a definite possibility for the home side.
Hines’ 65 Tests makes him the most experienced player in the Scottish side and he’s looking forward to playing against the Bok lock pairing of Matfield and Bakkies Botha, even if it won’t be as direct opponent this weekend.
“Those are guys I like to play against. They play the game the way I like it – hard with a bit of niggle, but shake hands and share a beer afterwards,” he said.
“Bakkies and Victor have played together for a long time. The reason for that is that they are good and complement one another.”
Hines also knows exactly what to expect from the Boks.
“They are very direct and physical. That has been the recipe for the past 10 years – big guys that run directly at you. You have to be able to front up to the collisions ... it’s a difficult thing to do.
“I don’t think the All Blacks are as physical. They don’t commit a lot of players to the rucks and look to create space for their backs. South Africa look to their forwards to lead the way.”
The Kiwis’ pace and skill was indeed too much for the Scots last week, but the defeat is also serving as motivation for Hines and Co.
“We let ourselves down. The All Blacks were very clinical and we were poor on defence. We did not stick to our system. Whether some of that is down to us last playing together in June, we will see on Saturday,” said Hines.
“The focus this week is not so much on what the Boks will do. It’s rather about cleaning up in our own back yard. If we do that, the rest will take care of itself.”
Hines will be up against Juan Smith, who was described by Robinson as one of the best loose forwards in the world just this week.
“I rate him highly. He’s got a good brain and is the quiet achiever of the Bok pack,” Hines said of Smith.
He also does not believe the Boks will compromise on quality with the surprise move of replacing Pierre Spies with Ryan Kankowski.
“Both are very athletic and will take the opportunity if you give them an inch of space.”