Belfast Telegraph

Ex-Leinster star Hines relishing return to RDS with Montpellier


By Ruaidhri O'Connor

When Devin Toner was asked this week about his memories of Nathan Hines, he immediately compared him to Leo Cullen.

The Ireland second-row partnered both men when he was earning his own stripes at Leinster and today he'll be down on the pitch while his old team-mates are in opposing boxes.

"He was kind of like what Leo was as a player," Toner recalled of the former Scotland international who returns to the RDS with Montpellier this lunchtime.

"He was naturally coaching as he played, he was always speaking up in meetings and was kind of driving the front-five ethos of getting in their face and disrupting."

Hines emits a large guffaw when Toner's assessment is put to him.

Perhaps he doesn't recognise the comparison, maybe he's just being modest, but since he retired from playing in 2015 he has been steadily building a coaching reputation under the tutelage of Vern Cotter.

"I haven't been to the RDS since I left. I played at the Aviva, but not at the RDS so it's going to be good, I'm really looking forward to it," he says, recalling his two years with Leinster.

"I had two really good years, I always look back and I'm glad that I spent two years in Dublin. I was happy to get back with Clermont when we played and it'll be good be good to get back this weekend.

"When Dev talks about me being a coach, half-coach, half-player - Leo was more than that," he says of his former captain.

"It's great to be given the opportunity to grow and be given the responsibility early, he's done a great job."

Belfast Telegraph

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