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Rugby Union: Hines: I would love to tackle the Wallabies in World Cup quarter-final.

Byline: Kevin Boyd

SCOTLAND'S Wagga Wagga-born lock Nathan Hines last night admitted he was dreaming of meeting Australia in the World Cup quarter-finals.

Hines arrived in his homeland yesterday along with the rest of the Scotland squad and fellow Kilted Kangaroos Andrew Mower, Robbie Russell and Ben Hinshelwood.

After touching down in Sydney following a 32-hour journey from Edinburgh, Ian McGeechan's men moved to their training camp in the Sunshine Coast town of Caloundra to prepare for their opening encounter with Japan on October 12.

With France favourites to win Scotland's group - which also includes USA and Fiji - Hines and Co could end up facing a daunting quarter-final clash with host nation Australia if they secure the runners up berth in their pool.

And though Hines, who qualified to play for Scotland through his grandfather, admitted he still has emotional ties to Oz, he insisted he would relish the chance to have a bash at the Wallabies.

Hines said: "It's like having divorced parents, you love each country but you live with one sometimes and the other at other times.

"We'd obviously like to win our group but it's not going to be easy and we'll have to take each game as it comes. If we play Australia that would be good."

Sydney-born Mower, who was once a member of the local lifeguard club which featured in Home and Away, agreed.

He said: "I'd love to play against Australia. I was joking about it with my mother and she said she hopes I play well but she will still support Australia. I think she was kidding, I hope she was."

Captain and scrum-half Bryan Redpath was, however, taking a far more cautious approach and refused to look beyond the group matches.

Redpath warned: "You want to have big targets and ambitions you want to strive to get to, but first of all we need to concentrate on our group.

"We need to make sure we can perform well against Japan and America, going into the French game with some kind of performance under out belt."

Coach McGeechan also laid it on the line by telling his squad that if they trip at the first hurdle they may as well pack their bags and head home.

Geech said: "This is the fourth World Cup I have been involved in and it is vital to make a decent start and establish your momentum from minute one."

Despite the arduous journey, the Scots were put through a light training session at Caloundra - a five-minute ride on bikes provided by the local rugby club and then a swim.

But they had to do without their "powerbags" after suspicious customs officers at Sydney Airport seized some of fitness coach Marty Hulme's specialist equipment.

The officials were worried that the heavy-duty plastic aids, used for weight-training, could contain sand or soil which could spread infections to vegetation in their country.

Last night samples of the ballast, believed to have been collected on Portobello Beach, near Edinburgh, were being analysed by scientists.

Scotland spokesman Graham Law admitted: "It doesn't appear likely that we will be seeing the powerbags in the near future."

Record-cap holder Gregor Townsend was also down in the dumps when he discovered that his lap-top computer had been stolen during the flight to Oz.

CAPTION(S):

JETLAGGED: Geech, Redpath and Jim Telfer arrive in Oz; KILTED ROO: Andy Mower
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 1, 2003
Words:565
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