FORMER LEINSTER LOCK Nathan Hines will join Sale Sharks from Clermont at the end of the season.
The 37-year-old has signed a two-year deal with the Premiership club, who currently sit seventh in the English top tier. The 77-times capped Scottish international will be bringing to an end a three-year spell with Clermont when he leaves in June.
Despite his advanced age, Hines has maintained excellent form for the Top 14 club in recent seasons, combining an aggressive edge with excellent handling skills. His line-out work is a strong feature of his game, while a 118kg, 6ft 7ins frame provides a powerful shove at scrum time.
His passing and offloading abilities add another dimension to Clermont’s play, and the sight of the second row stepping in as a first receiver to distribute the ball is common. With the need for professional players to be more and more rounded, Hines is a shining example for tight forwards.
There had been suspicions that the Australian native would call time on his career at the conclusion of this season but it appears that his continuing impressive form has convinced Hines that he still has plenty to offer. Sale have secured the services of an excellent lock.
Having won a Heineken Cup with Leinster in 2011, the lack of silverware during his years with Clermont is something that Hines will be hoping to fix before the end of the current campaign. Vern Cotter’s side have been installed as favourites heading into the knock-out stages of the Heineken Cup and the veteran second row will be determined that Clermont do not fall short again this season.
Hines has also enjoyed spells with Perpignan and Edinburgh at club level, while a stint with Gala RFC was what originally brought the Aussie to Scotland. The 37-year-old toured with the Lions in 2009, although he did not feature in the Test series.
Commenting on the signing, Sale head coach Steve Diamond had the following to say:
“Nathan is a world class player and will fit in well with us at Sale Sharks. He has vast experience playing at the highest level and is a regular starter at Clermont. Last weekend he was magnificent in helping his team beat Racing Paris. The forwards at Sale Sharks have played well this season and adding Nathan to the group will be a big boost to us.”
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