Easter has eyes on the prize
Quins looking to preserve their standing at the summit
By Chris Burton. Last Updated: February 9, 2012 9:57am
Nick Easter: Claims Harlequins have only made minor tweaks this season
Harlequins lead the way in the Aviva Premiership table entering the business end of the season, but Nick Easter insists there is no secret behind their success.
The 2010/11 season saw Quins end the campaign in seventh spot, 13 points adrift of the play-off places and a massive 26 behind table-topping Leicester.
Few would have expected that their reversal in fortune to be so dramatic, with Conor O'Shea's men now setting the pace with nine games of the current campaign remaining.
There were inevitable comings and goings at Twickenham Stoop last summer, but the vastly-experienced Easter says the dramatic improvement this season can be put down to minor tweaks.
"I don't think much has changed in terms of style," he told Sky Sports.
"I think with the ball we are working better, we are offloading better, we are getting a lot quicker ball, but we are also being a bit more patient when required. We have also stopped conceding so many penalties. Last season we lost out on an awful lot of losing bonus points, so that's good."
Next up for Quins in their quest to secure Premiership glory is a meeting with local rivals London Irish on Saturday, and their standing at the summit means each passing fixture makes them even more of a prized scalp for determined opponents.
Easter said: "Yeah, you are, but that's the position you want to be in and we wouldn't want to have it any other way. It doesn't change your mind set though. I don't think it matters whether you are top of the league or bottom of the league, you know what you have to do and you go out to win every game."
Quins have already beaten the Exiles twice this season and Easter admits that record could play into their hands this weekend.
He said: "It gives you a bit of confidence knowing that the approach you have taken works. We have to do it again."
A run of three straight defeats in all competitions is hardly ideal preparation for a derby date, but Easter believes Quins will be firing on all cylinders by the time they take to the field on Saturday.
He said: "Yeah, it's important (to bounce back). But, that said, we have experimenting with quite a few players in the last few games, so I don't think we will be reading too much into that. It's up to us to step up again this weekend."
During Saturday's Aviva Premiership derby match between Harlequins and London Irish, league sponsors Aviva are continuing their scientific quest to find the league's 'most passionate fans'. For more information, visit www.avivapremiership.com/passionate