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Heineken Cup
Hines wary of Montpellier's qualities
ESPN Staff
April 4, 2013
Clermont Auvergne's Nathan Hines shifts the ball, Saracens v Clermont Auvergne, Heineken Cup quarter-final, Vicarage Road, Watford, England, April 8, 2012
Nathan Hines will look to guide Clermont into the semi-finals © Getty Images
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Clermont Auvergne's Nathan Hines has set his sights on a semi-final spot in the Heineken Cup but he is fully aware of the threats Montpellier and No.8 Johnnie Beattie pose.

Beattie played alongside Hines for Scotland but both are now turning out in the Top 14. While Hines has called time on his Test aspirations, Beattie started all five of Scotland's matches during the recent Six Nations. The No.8 is enjoying a superb season for Montpellier following his summer transfer and Hines has singled out his ability at the back of the scrum as something Clermont will need to keep their eye on.

Although both French teams are well acquainted with each other, come Saturday, when they face each other at the Stade Marcel Michelin for a place in the semi-finals of the Heineken Cup, Hines is anticipating a different feel to the match.

"Despite this being an all-French encounter, it will be a whole new ball-game for both teams," Hines told the Courier. "It will be nothing like playing in the Top14 championship because it is all or nothing -- lose and your are gone.

"We still feel the pain of losing to Leinster in last year's semi and we don't want to feel so low again. 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.

"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."

While Hines has called time on his international career, he is still keen to journey to Australia with the British & Irish Lions and a strong showing against Montpellier on the European stage could further his claims.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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