herald

Monday 20 November 2017

No Blues surprise

Hines expecting no shocks from Gunners as he calls for hearty home support

Second row Nathan Hines has made a call for Leinster's faithful to turn out in their thousands and give their full vocal backing to a team in need of their support against Edinburgh.

"We need them behind us. We want to finish this period of Magners League games on a high and keep our home record intact," said Hines, in what is Leinster's second home appointment in seven league matches.

"It would be great to get the job done in front of another big crowd. The supporters are with us every week. The best way to repay their loyalty is to play well."

The early season jitters, when Leinster lost three and won one, have given way to a sense of great optimism on the back of four fundamentally sound performances against three of the highest calibre clubs in Europe and Connacht.

Now, Leinster coach Joe Schmidt has been drained of many of his Ireland internationals, reverting back to some of the players who were not able to cope with the demands at the start of the season.

The fringe elements of the squad will have to raise their standard of play in what is an unforgiving environment so that Leinster do not lose momentum. This is where the value of the British & Irish Cup becomes relevant.

A solid away win at Newport last Sunday week gave 'the kids' a degree of confidence out of the hostile environment of Rodney Parade and much needed match sharpness.

Thankfully, Scotland international Hines' participation does not come under the umbrella of Declan Kidney. The influential forward is free to honour the terms of his Leinster contract.

"I am under no restrictions. If Leinster want to play me, they will play me against Edinburgh. Most of the guys played against them five weeks ago. The guys are pretty switched on and pretty in line with what the opposition will bring."

TUSSLE

As it happens, Hines will line out against his former club Edinburgh in what is a mid-table tussle. But, insider knowledge is not the solid gold bar in the Magners League that it is in the Heineken Cup because the Celtic clubs are known in detail to each other.

Indeed, it was little over a month ago that Leinster held a slender half-time lead over Edinburgh only to fade out of contention against a more experienced Scottish outfit.

It looks like a batch of those Leinster young guns will be given the chance to make quick amends in opposition to an Edinburgh club who can call on their entire injury-free Scotland international contingent.

"My role is just to make sure they are comfortable with all the game strategies and make sure things go smoothly on the pitch," continued Hines.

"If a mistake happens or they get into a poor position, you have to reassure them on how to come back from it and on what they have to do to win."

In addition, Hines could have to enlist as a more regular carrier, presuming that headline runners Jamie Heaslip and Sean O'Brien are unlikely to play a part in these proceedings.

"There is a lot of work for me to do in the tight. There isn't that pressure on me at Leinster to get into the offloading game. We have a great carrying back row here. They carry a lot of the burden in the area of making metres."

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