Nathan Hines believes the Lions will have the confidence to put away the Boks, unlike Scotland eight months ago.
In last year’s November internationals, the Boks were saved by a late Jaque Fourie try after trailing 10-0 at half-time (they eventually won 14-10). That scoreline was due to an impractical game-plan from the Boks in the pursuit of Peter de Villiers’s so-called ‘total rugby’, as well as the Scots’ domination up-front.
This culiminated with Hines driving over the line to create the lead.
The Australian-born lock admits it shocked his own team more than the visitors. The Scots are the worst of the four home unions and Hines believes the Lions won’t let the Boks off as easy.
‘We should have beaten the Boks in the Autumn,’ Hines told keo.co.za. ‘It was great to be the first Scottish scorer at Murrayfield for 14 months, but after that I think we were stunned we were in front. We didn’t know what to do in that winning position as we thought we didn’t deserve to be in control.’
The lowly Scots only have four out of the 37 tourists, and Hines believes the experience that makes up the rest of the squad will mean closing out Tests won’t be a problem.
‘There is much more confidence within the Lions. There are a couple of guys who have beaten the Boks and we have that mental toughness throughout the group. Many of the players have reached the highest level and sustained that standard. We expect to beat the Boks and we won’t blow situations such as those,’ he said.
The Perpignan second-rower, who plays alongside former Bok Gerrie Britz, maintained he didn’t have to speak to his club team-mate for advice. Hines lists Bakkies Botha as his toughest opponent and knows exactly what to expect from the Boks, who he’s played eight times.
‘I didn’t really speak to Gerrie about it before I left. He congratulated me and he knows I know exactly what the intensity will be like. At Perpignan we don’t really speak about the rugby off the park, we just enjoy everyone’s company.
‘I’d rather talk with Gerrie about his farm. I have a lot of contact with the South African boys – Gerrie is in the locker next to me, while Phillip Burger is two away. I’m always in the middle of their Afrikaans conversations!’
Britz and Burger will be involved in the Top 14 final this weekend, but Hines doesn’t regret leaving his club for the sake of the quartet of countries.
‘What can you do? I had to take the Lions chance. I had to come here, it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.’
By Grant Ball, in Johannesburg