In a formidable about turn of selectorial policy, Stuart Lancaster has recalled the durable Harlequins number eight Nick Easter.
Easter, capped 47 times but in the international wilderness for three seasons, has shown a new lease of life this year as his offloading game has become central to Harlequins’ European and Premiership aspirations.
Lancaster has clearly taken note of Easter’s all-round performances and this is unquestionably a decision based on form and form alone.
Speaking exclusively to Planet Rugby, Easter confessed to being excited at the prospect of resuming his international career:
“I must say it’s taken me a little bit by surprise, despite the press speculation!” said Easter.
“Nevertheless, to coin a phrase, I’m absolutely buzzing to be back in the international environment and I’ll be pushing hard for an opportunity to wear the white shirt again.
“I didn’t expect to ever play international rugby again although it’s always something you will miss and always something at the back of your mind. Today has truly taken me by surprise.
“The opportunity is there now; I’ll do my best to seize it, contribute in every way I can, and I can’t wait to get back involved with what looks to be a great team environment with Stuart Lancaster and the rest of the boys.”