When the Scottish lock returned from touring with the British and Irish Lions to South Africa, Rugby World caught up with 'Wagga' to chat about embarrassing moments, mistaken identity and deciding where to settle down.
RUGBY WORLD: What are your nicknames?
NATHAN HINES: Wagga, Hinesy and Simon Taylor likes to call me Charles, but that hasn’t caught on. He has a history of making up nicknames – he called himself Apollo, as in the god, but it didn’t catch on!
RW: What are your bugbears?
NH: People who aren’t polite. If I open the door for someone and they don’t say thank you, I do tend to react and say something like, ‘Sorry, I didn’t catch that.’
RW: If your house was on fire, what three things would you save?
NH: Myself, my wife and my son Joshua.
RW: Other than people?
NH: Our dog, Shep. He’s a Border collie. We didn’t name him – he’s a rescue dog – and because we’re from Australia we didn’t know about the Blue Peter connection. I wouldn’t worry about rescuing anything else.
RW: If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
NH: Invisibility. I’d wander around, see who was talking about me.
RW: Who’s your ideal woman?
NH: My wife Leann. She will kill me if I say anyone else.
RW: Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?
NH: My Lions team-mate Stephen Jones. He’s a very, very positive person and a good laugh. And MacGyver (fictional American secret agent, famous for problem-solving) because he’d be able to get us out.
RW: What’s the silliest thing you’ve bought?
NH: I tend not to buy stupid things. I really think out my purchases, so much so that my wife says, ‘Just BUY it!’
Dan Carter, Army rolls and Life after rugby…
RW: If a film was made of your life, who would you want to play you?
NH: Simon Shaw. A taxi driver mistook me for him the other day. He was saying, ‘I’ve given you a lift before’, and I was saying, ‘No, you haven’t’. And a couple of years ago at Heathrow a group of people asked if I was Simon Shaw.
RW: What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?
NH: To have a quiet life with my family and maybe have another little one, if we can. I’ve no idea what I’ll do when I stop playing, so if anyone is looking for a slightly used rugby player…
RW: How do you want to be remembered?
NH: As a player, as someone who got the job done, who just got on with it and didn’t ask questions. Outside rugby, as a generous person, I hope.
RW: What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen on the pitch?
NH: I’m going to make myself look like an idiot. At French grounds, we run out through curtains onto the pitch. At Biarritz, I didn’t realise their curtain frame had a metal bar a couple of inches off the ground, across the doorway. It was a Friday night game, on TV, and I was about the fourth player out, with both teams running side by side. I clipped the rail with my boot and had a split-second to think, ‘Shall I fall flat, or try to roll and do something that looks a bit flash?’ I ended up doing a half-hearted roll onto the pitch and everyone had to run over the top of me.
RW: Did Dan Carter get any stick when he was at Perpignan?
NH: One of the French guys suggested we should tackle him after training, strip him naked and run off with his clothes, as a kind of initiation, but it didn’t happen. They did tie all his shoes together in his locker and no one would admit who had done it.
RW: Who are the jokers in the Scotland squad?
NH: Me, a little bit. John Barclay and Simon Webster.
RW: You laughed as you said John. What things has he done?
NH: All I can say is, it’s a lot of body humour.
RW: And who are the jokers with the Lions?
NH: I only needed about ten minutes to find out Andy Powell was going to be the main source of entertainment on tour.
RW: Where is life better – Australia, the UK or France?
NH: They’re all good for different reasons. The weather in France and Australia. The people in Scotland are really welcoming and warm. I spent most of my adult life there. It’s good to have the experience of living in a different culture and learning a different language in France and the people and the rugby are great there too. Leann and I are not sure where we will end up. We’ve still got a house in Australia and our families are there, but we haven’t made any plans and we will see what opportunities come up.
Learn more about Nathan’s teammates at Scotland…