Former England international Nick Easter enjoying defence coach role at his first love Harlequins

Former England international Nick Easter switch from playing first-class rugby to coaching it last summer – and he could not be happier.

The 38-year-old played at the top level of English rugby for 15 seasons, playing a record-breaking 281 times for Harlequins and earning 54 international caps.

After a year as head coach of Wimbledon RFC, who play in the sixth tier of English rugby, London One South, he took up a new role as Harlequins defence coach last year.

He said: “I have enjoyed it. I don’t have any regrets.

“I don’t regularly think I wish I was out there playing. I have had my time and I am happy with that.

“As far as the coaching is concerned I’ve fully enjoyed it.

“It’s been hard work but I expected it to be and that is what I want it to be.

“It’s been up and down in terms of results but if we had been winning every week and it was easy I wouldn’t be learning anything.

“So in terms of my personal development it being a challenge every week is exciting.

“It is a lot different to being at Wimbledon.

“At Wimbledon, you have a lot less time with the players than you have in the professional environment.

“Sometimes you don’t even know if they are all going to turn up so you have to ab lib with numbers.

“So in terms of planning your sessions, the plan can get ripped up and thrown in the bin and you have to start again.

“So it does throw up a lot of challenges.

“But in terms of the group of players whether at Wimbledon or Harlequins they have both got a real thirst to learn. They are really engaged in it and they want to get better.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my two years at Wimbledon and still speak to Nick Evans who is in charge there this year and I got Joe Gray to take over the forwards there.”

Easter is now fully focused on the job at hand at Harlequins.

He said: “Now I am fully engrossed in my first love in terms of a Premiership rugby club, the only Premiership rugby club I ever played for.

“I know the club inside out at Harlequins.

“I know the players capabilities and it is about pushing that and pushing that, whether it be their rugby understanding, technical ability, tactical ability or physical abilities.”

Moving from teammate to coach can alter the dynamics of the relationships at the club, but Easter believes he has navigated it successfully.

He said: “I had to be sort of wary of going into a senior coaching role, if I had started out in the academy it is a little bit different.

“A lot of them are my mates and I have to be very careful how I treat them, I can’t suddenly completely change because there is life outside rugby.

“Player management is very important especially the higher level you go.

“It is about how to push the right buttons of certain players and the mutual respect for one another.

“We all want the same thing, we want Harlequins to be winning.

“I don’t I like yes men, you know people who just nod their head, I like to be challenged and I like to hope that the players have that avenue to do it as well.”

Easter was speaking as the celebrity guest at the opening of the revamped B&Q in New Malden where he joined the family fun day.

He showed his DIY skills in a number of challenges and the paint team also had a special paint selection in Harlequin colours.

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