EASTER OPTIMISTIC

Nick Easter says that he is still optimistic of his teams chances this season. The shortfall in outcomes compared with expectations is what gives Quins’ ‘Big Game 3’ against London Irish in the now-annual Twickenham Christmas extravaganza such importance.

Their own rugby director Conor O’Shea calls it make or break. Taken together, Big Game 3, the New Year’s Day visit to Premiership leaders Northampton and the home game with Wasps will either salvage or scupper Quins’ season.

NICK EASTER REVEALS IN ENGLAND'S WIN

Nick Easter has admitted that England were nervy in their win over Samoa. The Samoans, trailing 6-3 at half-time, even led early in the second half after full-back Paul Williams’ try.

But touchdowns from Matt Banahan and Tom Croft ensured England chalked up a hard-fought victory.

Nick Easter, captain as Lewis Moody was rested, said: ‘I was biting my fingernails for a bit in second half and I’m glad to get the win — but we’re not happy with the performance.

‘We weren’t as clinical as we wanted to be. We found the breakdown hard today. It really killed us.

EASTER BELIEVES IN YOUNSTERS

Nick Easters says that the youngsters can make Harlequins a force again. Led by new director of rugby Conor O’Shea, 32 year-old Nick Easter believes the new generation will replace the cloud of controversy that has been lurking over the Stoop with a bright new dawn.

"Last year was tricky, with all the (‘Bloodgate’) issues in the summer and a man sent off in the first game; it wasn’t a great start," says the England star.

"But now we’ve got a guy at the helm who has given us direction and rekindled our passion and belief in the style of rugby we want to play."

EASTER RETURN BOOSTS QUINS

The return of Nick Easter has provided a timely boost for Quins team which will take on leeds. There are five changes to the line-up which started against Falcons last week and Quins fans will be delighted with one of them being the return of England number 8, Nick Easter.

EASTER WANTS TO WIN UGLY

Nick Easter is ready to be a killjoy at Twickenham on Sunday as he looks to lead England to a confidence-boosting win over the Barbarians to take into next month's tour Down Under.

The Harlequins No8 will captain England in the absence of regular skipper Steve Borthwick who was forced to buy his own England Rugby Tickets!) and his stand-in Lewis Moody, both of whom are playing in the Guinness Premiership Final at Twickenham tomorrow.

NICK EASTER IN AUS TOUR SQUAD

England manager Martin Johnson on Tuesday named the following squad for the tour of Australia and New Zealand in June:

Forwards: Steffon Armitage, David Attwood, Dan Cole, Tom Croft, Paul Doran-Jones, Nick Easter, David Flatman, Hendre Fourie, Jon Golding, Dylan Hartley, James Haskell, Courtney Lawes, Lee Mears, Lewis Moody, Tom Palmer, Geoff Parling, Tim Payne, Chris Robshaw, Simon Shaw, Steve Thompson, Dan Ward-Smith, Rob Webber, Dave Wilson, Joe Worsley.

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