Hines rates second row
Veteran Nathan Hines believes he is in good company amongst the current host of Scotland locks.
By Rachel Griffiths
Last Updated: 24/02/10 11:57am
Veteran Nathan Hines believes he is in good company among the current host of Scotland locks.
The 33-year-old has forged a number of second-row partnerships during his 10-year Test rugby career, playing alongside the likes of Scott Murray and Stuart Grimes.
But Hines believes Jim Hamilton, Alastair Kellock and youngster Richie Gray are easily as good as any he has previously lined up with on the field.
"Big Al is in the mould of Scott Murray," said Hines.
"Richie Gray has got an enormous amount of potential. He can develop over the next couple of years - hopefully not too much that he's going to take my spot until I retire."
Injuries, Kellock's resurgence and the arrival of rising star Gray on the international scene have all shaken up a second row previously dominated by Hamilton and Hines.
Kellock will start alongside Hamilton for Scotland in their RBS Six Nations match against Italy on Saturday, with Hines on the bench after recovering from ankle and calf injuries, but the Leinster star insists he has no qualms with taking the backseat.
"We can't select ourselves so there's no point arguing about who should be in the team and shouldn't be," he said.
"With us four, we have some good banter and congratulate each other when we're in the team."
Injury sidelined Hines for Scotland's last-gasp 31-24 defeat to Wales 10 days ago, but he was encouraged by his side's performance.
"The guys who played deserve to stay in the team and I'm fully behind Al and big Jim to start on Saturday and do a great job," he added.
Scotland could have the edge in the line-out on Saturday after Italy struggled with theirs against Ireland and England, but Hines insists the Azzurri should not be underestimated.
"I'm pretty sure they'll have been working on it pretty hard," added Hines.
"They always raise their game against Scotland because they see us as the game they can win during the Six Nations."