Rugby

Who Is Leinster Rugby's Greatest Ever Foreign Import?

Who Is Leinster Rugby's Greatest Ever Foreign Import?

For a team that has experienced the success that Leinster have over the past decade or so, it comes as no shock that they have brought in a number of massively important players from overseas over the years.

The likes of Isa Nacewa and Rocky Elsom had huge impacts at the club, contributing to some of the brightest days in their recent history.

Scott Fardy has the chance to join that elusive list over the coming weeks, with the Australian putting in some incredible displays since he arrived on these shores in 2017. A big game this weekend against Toulouse in the Champions Cup will only strengthen his claim to be amongst the elite imports in Leinster rugby.

On this weeks World in Union, the Balls.ie rugby podcast, the lads spoke about the great Leinster imports over the years. One man who they both agreed had a claim was Nathan Hines, the Australian-born Scotland international who played for the province from 2009-2011.

Hines was interviewed on this week's show, and Mick and Maurice both agreed that he was perhaps one of the most impactful foreign imports to play for Leinster.

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Mick: When you think of Leinster imports, you think of the one great season where everyone fell in love with Rocky Elsom. You think of the legendary career of Isa Nacewa, you think of other players who had a certain amount of impact, you had a few months of Brad Thorne when he won a Heineken Cup.

But actually, it might not be as heralded, but not many have had an impact as big as Hines did over the course of a good couple of seasons where he was a really, really important cog in what Leinster were at their most important time.

Maurice: Devin Toner spoke about this in 2017, about the player who most reminded him of Leo Cullen was Nathan Hines. Supposedly he was a training ground guru at Leinster, Joe Schmidt absolutely loved him. His attention to detail around the line-out, he had amazing hands, his ability to pass the ball.

There was no-one better at the dark arts that Nathan Hines. He literally invented the art of pinning a man at the bottom of a ruck and winning a penalty. There's a great clip of Nathan Hines playing against Ulster, pinning three different players to the floor at one time, as they're attacking a line playing with Clermont.

He was a genius at that facet of the game and just kind of all-round.

SEE ALSO: The Iconic Game Which Changed Munster Rugby Forever

Gary Connaughton

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