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.

“If you look at the tries-for and tries-against figures, we are among the best for both,” said Nick Easter, Harlequins’ England elder statesman.

“But the table is done on points and you get them from winning. So that’s what we have to do that we haven’t been doing.”

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.