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Hines warning for Gray

Nathan Hines has warned Scotland team-mate Richie Gray to expect a tougher test than in the humiliating reverse against New Zealand in Saturday's clash with South Africa.

Gray, the 21-year-old Glasgow Warriors lock, was rewarded for a strong showing in Scotland's 49-3 loss to the All Blacks with a second Test start, pitting him against the most revered second-row pairing in rugby in Springboks captain Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha.

Hines, who will line up at blindside flanker as he wins his 66th cap, said: "Last week he put himself about, got round the pitch and did well. This is different gravy - these guys are recognised as being the best pairing in the world. It's a big test for him and it's not something you get playing for Glasgow every week."

He added:"He needs that exposure and so do all the young guys playing for Scotland.

"They need that exposure to top-class rugby, playing against the best players and it can only make him and the other young guys better with the World Cup coming up."

South Africa believe Scotland pose a "major threat" to their hopes of a Grand Slam.

Having beaten Ireland and Wales, the Springboks meet Scotland seeking to make it three wins from three Tests on their northern hemisphere tour.

Their forwards coach Gary Gold said: "They will be hurting after Saturday's defeat and they'll want to erase that memory as quickly as possible.

"We're not reading too much into it - as (New Zealand head coach) Graham Henry said himself, the All Blacks hit a real purple patch and not many teams are able to live with them in that mood. It was Scotland's first match together after five months and they'll be much better for it.

"They had a series win in Argentina this year and beat Australia at Murrayfield a year ago so they pose a major threat and it would be a big mistake to use last Saturday's result as any serious form guide."


From Belfast Telegraph