Hines backing Scots squad
Nathan Hines insists Scotland's squad is strong enough to cope with their injuries against France on Saturday.
Last Updated: 10/02/09 10:01am
Nathan Hines insists the Scotland squad have enough strength in depth to cope with their injuries and put up a performance against France on Saturday.
Frank Hadden's men were soundly beaten by Wales in their RBS Six Nations opener, and to make matters worse they have emerged from the match with a string of injury problems.
Perpignan lock Hines and Northampton prop Euan Murray both missed the Wales game through injury, and their presence was notably missed by the Scots.
Hadden has claimed he has his best squad since taking over, and Hines insists they have a big enough pool of talent to cope as they travel to Paris on Saturday.
"I don't think it was because Euan and I were injured at all," said Hines. "It's just unfortunate that a lot of the guys didn't play well.
"We've definitely got a lot of depth at the moment. I think it's more of a consistency thing."
Hadden has in fact taken the step of delaying the naming of his side until Wednesday, due to the quantity of injuries he has to deal with.
32-year-old Hines' knee is not the only injury problem, with as many as 12 players having injury doubts hanging over them.
Debutant prop Geoff Cross and wing Simon Webster must both pass tests before being allowed to play after they both knocked out against Wales.
The likes of Chris Cusiter (knee), Mike Blair (dead leg), Scott Gray (neck), Jim Hamilton (eye), Allan Jacobsen (knee), Jason White (calf), John Barclay (neck), Graeme Morrison (knee), Phil Godman (knee bruising) and Ben Cairns (hip) are all struggling.
Hines feels he could be fit for Saturday, and he is itching to get back into the action.
"I'm pretty optimistic," he said. "Fingers crossed, I'll be playing. You always want to do your bit, and the most effective way of doing that is to play.
"You have a stumbling block at the start, and it will either galvanise you as a team or things could get worse.
"I know the guys and it's only going to give them more resolve to play."
Centre Max Evans produced an enterprising cameo against Wales when coming off the bench, and he is hoping for a start against France.
"I'd love to start," said the Glasgow star. "That's the aim of every Scottish player - get the starting jersey.
"It could be my kind of game.
"There'll be a bit of anger, so I'm sure the players will come out firing - and whether I'm starting or not, I'll be doing the same."