Easter lauded ahead of Saracens semi-final

Record-breaker Nick Easter has been hailed as one of the best forwards in the country ahead of Harlequins’ Premiership semi-final against Saracens.

Easter will play his 233rd game for Quins in the big showdown at Allianz Park on Saturday, surpassing the club’s all-time appearance mark set by Ceri Jones.

The 35-year-old will hope to celebrate the occasion with victory against Premiership table-toppers Sarries.

Conor O’Shea’s side have only won one of the last 10 meetings between the two sides but they go into this encounter having won their last five Premiership matches.

Ahead of the game, defence coach Tony Diprose praised Easter for his influence on the team both on and off the field.

He said: “As he’s got older, he’s realised his role in terms of leading some of the younger guys around him.

“On the field, he’s clearly one of the best forwards in the country. There’s an argument to say he should still be involved in the England squad.

“He understands how to get into space and he likes the defensive side as well, he sees that as a real challenge. As defence coach, I do lean on him to lead us in that defensive area.”

Easter, this week named forward of the year at the Premiership awards, moved to Quins from Orrell in 2004.

He won 47 caps for England, but hasn’t played Test rugby since Stuart Lancaster took over after the 2011 World Cup.

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