O’Shea sings Easter’s praises

Date published: December 8 2014

Harlequins boss Conor O’Shea hailed back-row Nick Easter after the veteran inspired his team to a 24-18 victory over Leinster at the Stoop on Sunday.

O’Shea believes Easter, who won the man-of-the-match award against Leinster – can still play for England and feels the 36-year-old’s retirement won’t happen anytime soon.

“I’ve always said he can still play for England because he can cover a few positions and is an old head,” he said.

“Sometimes when you’re in those sorts of games you need those old people around.

“We’ve a lot of youngsters who are learning on the hoof, but when Nick plays like that he’s a very special player.

“I’m very fortunate that he’s been at the club in the time I’ve been here.

“He’s at the tail end of his career, but he’s still got a few more years left in him. (Leicester lock) Brad Thorn is playing aged 40, so he can keep on going.”

Easter scored the game’s momentum-shifting opening try after the teams were level at 9-9 at half-time and Quins’ other points came via another five-pointer from Aseli Tikoirotuma, a penalty from Nick Evans, a Dany Care drop goal and a conversion and two penalties from Tim Swiel.

O’Shea was particularly delighted with his side’s response against the three-time European champions after they lost to Leicester Tigers last weekend.

“We’ve had a tough couple of weeks and not the greatest start to the season, but sometimes you have to show some fight and we did,” he added.

“Our scrum has been outstanding and then last weekend happened. That was a great reaction from the pack.

“When you have your backs to the walls, we have the catchphrase ‘one shot, one kill, and we don’t want to die wondering’.

“We now Leinster will come firing back, but our belief will grow from this. It will be an unbelievable contest for us next week.”

Leinster head coach Matt O’Connor bemoaned his side’s shortcomings at the scrum.

“That was as good as Nick Easter has played in the last 25 years! Full credit to Quins, I thought they played very, very well,” he said.

“We didn’t control set piece and with a French referee away from home that’s massive.

“We thought it would be a lot closer contest up front and the beauty of sport is that we have a week to fix it.”