Nick Easter backs Harlequins to lay down marker against Leicester


Harlequins No.8 Nick Easter expects his side to prove their title winning credentials this Saturday.


By Samuel Wakefield

HARLEQUINS No.8 Nick Easter insists he expects his side to lay down a marker against Leicester when the Aviva Premiership’s form side arrive for a top of the table clash this Saturday.

Leicester have been in electric form aided by the resurgent Toby Flood who claimed a 25-point haul in their 35-21 win at Northampton and look a sure bet to join already qualified Quins in the Aviva Premiership semi-finals.

Quins have the upper hand so far this season having beaten the Tigers 27-18 away in the reverse fixture and are the only team sitting above them in the league.

But Easter is adamant there is no danger of his team taking their foot off the pedal – with this Saturday’s face-off the perfect place to prove their title winning credentials.

“We have worked hard to be in this position and there is no point now tapping each other on the back and thinking the job is done because it is far from it,” the 33-year-old said.

“It is good to play this standard of team ahead of the semis. They are all hard games but they have a tremendous pedigree and have won the title more than anyone else.

“When there are two sides playing as good rugby as we both are at the moment then it is a really good test to see where we are at this stage.

“We have been top since the third week so we have been there to be shot at but the guys have responded well and we have to continue in that vein.

“Now is the real business end and the intensity and the physicality will be up a notch to what we’ve had this season so far but the boys are prepared for that.

“Obviously we respect them but we will continue to play as good rugby as we have done all year because that is what it is going to take to win.”

Having secured their semi-final slot with a 33-17 mauling of local rivals Wasps, Conor O’Shea’s men can make sure of a home semi-final by beating Leicester.

And former England No.8 Easter knows that home advantage could prove vital when the knock-out stages begin.

“It is important to get that home semi-final, there haven’t been that many away wins in the semi-final games so it does become an advantage,” he added.

“But we still have to get that home tie and we haven’t got it yet. So obviously that is our goal after making the play-offs last week.”

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