It can be hard to find coaching reinforcements mid-season, but with Leicester Tigers’ porous defence holding them back in both the Gallagher Premiership and Heineken Champions Cup, help is needed sooner rather than later.
The club have admitted that they are looking to bring someone in to assist in that area and with the majority of candidates likely to be contracted elsewhere, their options are limited.
One coach who is currently without a club and could be of interest to the Tigers and newly-confirmed head coach Geordan Murphy, is Nick Easter.
The former England international was the defence coach with Harlequins from 2016 to the beginning of the 2018/19 season, when the arrival of Paul Gustard at the club meant that Easter was surplus to requirements.
Having transitioned straight from playing into performance coaching with the Quins senior side, the learning curve was steep for Easter in south-west London, but he has since added to his coaching CV, having taken part in the Cell C Sharks’ Currie Cup campaign.
Easter spent three months with the Durban-based Sharks and helped them win their first Currie Cup title since 2013. He was involved with coaching the contact area and lineout and maul at the Sharks, as well as having an influence on defence and attack. The Sharks lost just once during the campaign and then managed to defeat Western Province, 17-12, in the final, who had previously been unbeaten in the competition.
Having been exposed to different styles of coaching in the southern hemisphere, Easter is now back in England and would surely be keen to have another crack at the Premiership.
With Leicester having leaked 292 points and 39 tries so far in the Premiership, the most of any team in the competition, there’s no doubt that Easter could have a positive influence on the group’s defence, should Murphy and the Leicester board be keen to bring him on board.
Given that the team’s points differential of -78 and try differential of -17 are also the worst in the competition, it’s clear the attack can’t carry the burden sufficiently enough to paper over the cracks in the defence.
A short-term contract till the end of the season would give Tigers a good period of time to evaluate Easter, whilst it would also allow for the former number eight to show off what he has learned in South Africa and reinvigorate his coaching career in England.
Watch: Exceptional Stories: Ian McKinley.
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