Hines reveals Lions sacrifice
Nathan Hines has decided to snub his club side Perpignan in favour of joining the Lions.
Last Updated: 29/04/09 11:59am
Nathan Hines has decided to snub his club side Perpignan in favour of joining the British and Irish Lions ahead of the summer tour to South Africa.
The Scotland lock is one of five second-row forwards called up by Lions head coach Ian McGeechan, meaning he will miss out on Perpignan's bid to claim their first French title since 1955.
The Top 14 play-off semi-finals, which Perpignan has qualified for, begin on the weekend of May 23/24 but Hines will have already set off for South Africa by then.
And, despite protests from some of the French club's supporters, Hines has insisted he had very little option in the decision.
"I have a torn heart but what can I do? If I am not in London on May 18 I will not be selected by the Lions," he said.
"Last year I was a substitute for Perpignan in the play-off semi-final. Imagine if I were to refuse the Lions and the same thing happened to me? No, that isn't possible.
"Representing the Lions is the creme de la creme, the squad of squads, the best players from four countries. It is difficult to explain, it is something all British players want to experience.
"Some fans don't understand the importance of the Lions for a guy like me, but they want Perpignan to have the best chance of winning the title.
"They said to me, 'Why are you going? You have a choice'. Others have said to me they were disappointed but have wished me good luck anyway."