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Hines wary of Leicester challenge

Nathan Hines has no doubt which parts of Clermont Auvergne's game will need to be in pristine condition when they greet Heineken Cup rivals Leicester on Sunday.

Former Scotland lock Hines features in a Clermont line-up that cannot afford any further Pool Four setbacks following their defeat against Ulster last month. And Clermont will face a Tigers side not only bolstered by England centre Manu Tuilagi's return after a long injury absence, but lifted following a run of wins at European and domestic levels.

Hines said: "People say they have had a rough time in the Premiership recently, but the signs are there that they have started to sort that out. More than any other side you play against, you have to have the tools to do the job against Leicester. That means you have to have a strong scrum and lineout because they always have powerful set-pieces."

He added: "The Tigers are tough opponents and you have to pay special attention to those parts of their game, and your game, to stand a chance and be competitive against them.

"They will be looking for a quarter-final place and to progress even further than that, but we have ambitions of our own in the Heineken Cup. We are still in the hunt, and we know how important the next couple of rounds are.

"Unlike the Premiership and the (French) Top 14, you can make amends for a bad performance or bad result during the course of a season. In the Heineken Cup, the next two weeks decide your fate.

"There is a pressure there, and it's such an unforgiving competition now. You can win a game, but fail to get a bonus point, and you are out of the Heineken Cup."

Tuilagi is back for Leicester after recovering from a cheekbone injury, with flanker Tom Croft also featuring after missing last weekend's thrilling Premiership victory over Northampton.


From Belfast Telegraph