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O'Shea's backing for Easter


Nick Easter was in inspired form for Harlequins

Nick Easter was in inspired form for Harlequins

Nick Easter was in inspired form for Harlequins

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea has backed Nick Easter to continue playing for some time after the veteran number eight inspired a 24-18 Champions Cup victory over Leinster.

Easter was named man of the match after carrying the fight to the three-times European champions and scoring the momentum-shifting opening try that broke the 9-9 half-time deadlock.

O'Shea believes the 36-year-old's experience could still be an asset for England - he has not played for the Red Rose since the 2011 World Cup - and predicts retirement is still some time away.

"I've always said he can still play for England because he can cover a few positions and is an old head. Sometimes when you're in those sorts of games you need those old people around," O'Shea said.

"We've a lot of youngsters who are learning on the hoof, but when Nick plays like that he's a very special player. I'm very fortunate that he's been at the club in the time I've been here.

"He's at the tail end of his career, but he's still got a few more years left in him. (Leinster lock) Brad Thorn is playing aged 40, so he can keep on going."

Wing Aseli Tikoirotuma crossed for the game's only other try, Nick Evans slotted a penalty before limping off with a groin injury, replacement fly-half Tim Swiel kicked eight points and Danny Care landed an opportunist late drop-goal.

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Quins, who dominated the scrum to atone for their set-piece horror show at Bath last weekend, have a 100 per cent record in Pool Two ahead of Saturday's return match in Dublin.

Victory avenged the infamous 'Bloodgate' defeat by Leinster in the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup five and a half years ago and O'Shea was delighted by the display.

"We've had a tough couple of weeks and not the greatest start to the season, but sometimes you have to show some fight and we did," he said.

"Our scrum has been outstanding and then last weekend happened. That was a great reaction from the pack.

"When you have your backs to the walls, we have the catchphrase 'one shot, one kill, and we don't want to die wondering'.

"We now Leinster will come firing back, but our belief will grow from this. It will be an unbelievable contest for us next week."

Evans is a doubt for Saturday's trip to the Aviva Stadium, but England prop Joe Marler is expected to be fit after sustaining a shoulder injury.

Leinster finished with a losing bonus point and head coach Matt O'Connor lamented his team's shortcomings at the scrum.

"That was as good as Nick Easter has played in the last 25 years! Full credit to Quins, I thought they played very, very well," O'Connor said.

"We didn't control set piece and with a French referee away from home that's massive.

"We thought it would be a lot closer contest up front and the beauty of sport is that we have a week to fix it."

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