Easter backed for England

Date published: January 10 2015

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O’Shea has backed veteran number eight Nick Easter for an England recall in their Rugby World Cup challenge later this year.

The 36-year-old, who this week signed a two-year contract extension, was man-of-the-match as Quins defeated Leicester 32-12 at the Stoop.

And O’Shea believes his number eight is good enough to wear the white of England again, which would be his first appearance since 2011.

“I’ve stopped speaking to (England head coach) Stuart Lancaster about Nick because I’m banging on….. Nick wants to play for England,” explained his club boss, speaking to Press Association Sport.

“Look at that performance against Leicester and think about the Leinster games when he played against Jamie Heaslip.

“I know Stuart and him had a good, long chat about it last year. Stuart’s worry has always been will he get to the World Cup with the ability to play at that intensity and pace?

“If he gets to the end of the season and he’s still playing like that, England might take a look at him. No doubt in a few months’ time he will more than ready.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have Nick at the club while I’ve been here. He’s a warrior, a rugby player, and while he may be old school in some ways – he challenges – he plays rugby.

“He plays at a level very few people can – that offload wasn’t just world class, it was out of this world. He tries things and never goes into his shell. The harder the going gets and the more we’re under pressure, the better he plays.

“I said to him four years ago I’d stop playing him every week, but I can’t stop playing him every week.”