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.”

And Easter is adamant that Quins’ youngsters will play a vital role, adding: “I think the average age of the squad is 24 so the young players are obviously going to be important.”

Easter earmarked centre George Lowe and prop Joe Marler as two youngsters who have particularly impressed him.

“George made an impact last season, but hopefully he’ll be more successful and score more tries this year. And Joe at loosehead – he’s a specimen and a half!”

With added enthusiasm brought in by their fledging stars, Easter believes that fans can expect to see a different Quins to the sides produced by former coach, Dean Richards.

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.

After being injured in England’s final game of this year’s Six Nations, Easter returns to his familiar position at the back of the Quins scrum. Unfortunately, Chris Robshaw paid the price for his strong performance last week by picking up an injury and will watch the match from the sidelines. Tom Guest moves to cover the flank, alongside Captain Will Skinner.

In the front row, Tani Fuga returns to partner Ceri Jones and John Andress.

In the backs, there are two more casualties. Gonzalo Tiesi and Ugo Monye will both join Robshaw on the sidelines but the welcome return of David Strettle to the wing, along with George Lowe in the centres, will keep the backline strong.

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.

And although Easter is demanding a performance of style and substance by his team, he is warning his players not to get drawn into trying to match the flair normally produced by the famous invitational side.

“You can start to go off-script a little bit when you play the Baa-Baas,” Easter said. “Our job is to make sure we don’t — and I suppose that will be my job more than anyone else’s.

“They are less of the set-piece team they have been in the past. They’ll have a lot of quality players out there and they will keep the ball in hand and really test our defence.

“We’ve still got to play and we’ve still got to challenge the opposition. But that’s no reason to throw American football passes if a simple two-handed one will do.”

Meanwhile, we’re offering some fantastic coupons so that you can buy a Nick Eatsre England kit at 25% discount!

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.

Backs: Delon Armitage, Chris Ashton, Matt Banahan, Olly Barkley, Danny Care, Mark Cueto, Toby Flood, Ben Foden, Shane Geragthy, Shontayne Hape, Charlie Hodgson, Ugo Monye, Joe Simpson, David Strettle, Mathew Tait, Mike Tindall, Dominic Waldouck, Richard Wigglesworth, Jonny Wilkinson, Ben Youngs.