Happier times: Nathan Hines and Andy Robinson celebrate their 21-17 victory over South Africa in 2010

Nathan Hines, the 77-times-capped Scotland forward, is retiring from international rugby after 11 years in the Test arena, he announced today.

Hines, known affectionately as Wagga, only came to Scotland, the land of his maternal grandfather for a six-month stay back in 1998.

Thirteen years on, he has scaled the heights beating every major Test playing nation for Scotland, except for New Zealand, also winning selection for the 2009 British and Irish Lions and giving a virtuoso performance that was at the heart of Leinster’s 2011 Heineken Cup win. He has achieved all this by remaining true to his nature – a big man, gifted ball player and fiercely competitive on the pitch; a considerate and selfless gentleman off it.

Scotland head coach Andy Robinson today paid tribute to Hines.  He said: “It has been a real pleasure to coach Nathan over the last two years. He is a one of Scotland’s toughest ever competitors and a fantastic role model for all young Scottish players.”

Scotland attack coach, Gregor Townsend, who played alongside Hines for the national team between 2000 and 2003, said: “I first met Nathan when he joined our tour to New Zealand as a replacement in 2000.  In the build-up to the second Test I was doing kicking practice at the end of a training session and he stayed out to help me.

“I’d really just started to drop-punt but here was this big guy with an incredible set of skills who could kick a lot better than me! What an effort he made to come back from serious injury early in his career and he went on to become one of the best ever players to pull on the Scotland jersey.

“I thought he was really unlucky on the 2009 Lions tour to South Africa. He played so well yet did not get into the Test team and, remember, he played in the back-row on that tour and looked the part which shows what a player he is. “