Nathan Hines expecting intense test when Clermont meet Toulon in final

Former Leinster lock looking to join elite to have won Heineken Cup with different clubs


Nathan Hines knows what it takes to win a Heineken Cup, having made a try-scoring contribution to Leinster’s famous 33-22 comeback win over Northampton in Cardiff in 2011, and he intends joining a notable few this Saturday to have won it with two teams.

The Australian-born lock and outhalf David Skrela (Toulouse 2010) are the only two players in Clermont Auvergne’s ranks to have tasted victory at this level. If Clermont continue their remarkable unbeaten run in the competition, which in itself will set a new record, with victory over Toulon, the pair will join just four others to have picked up medals with different clubs.

That list includes Ireland scrumhalf Eoin Reddan (Wasps and Leinster), as well as Philippe Carbonneau (Toulouse and Brive), Cedric Heymans (Brive and Toulouse) and Federico Mendez (Bath and Northampton), but joining them will not come easy against the machine that is Toulon.

The venue will be some advantage for Hines. He has enjoyed home comforts there before, in the heat of battle with Leinster.

“I feel really comfortable at the Aviva, but obviously, that doesn’t mean we won’t have to work really hard to win,” says the former Scotland international. “Playing against Toulon, it’s all about pressure. They have strong forwards and power-runners, so there’s danger pretty much everywhere.

“Saturday won’t be just about preventing (outhalf) 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.”