Nick Easter is set to be the first of the Harlequins coaches let go this summer to return to professional rugby, with the defence coach set to join the Cell C Sharks in South Africa for the upcoming Currie Cup season.
Easter, 39, left the south-west London club this summer following the arrival of Paul Gustard as Head of Rugby and had been out in South Africa in recent weeks, upskilling as a coach.
He is due to join up with the team in Durban next week, ahead of their season opener against the Vodacom Blue Bulls on August 25th.
The Sharks have enjoyed relative success in the competition recently, making it to the final in 2017 before falling to Western Province, but you have to go back to 2013 for the last time the Sharks lifted the trophy, when they beat Western Province at Newlands. The Sharks will be hoping that the addition of Easter can help them return to the final this year and go one better.
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The former England No 8 did not have the easiest of coaching baptisms, going straight from player to defence coach with Harlequins and this role in Durban will give Easter the opportunity to experience a new rugby environment and develop his coaching CV, not to mention escape the shadow of his illustrious playing career at the Stoop.
He earned 54 caps for England before hanging up his boots in 2016 and won’t be the first young English coach to move abroad and attempt to forge a career, with the likes of Joe Worsley, Ian Vass and Rory Teague among the others to do so in recent years, whilst more experienced coaches, such as Stuart Lancaster, Andy Farrell and Dan McFarland, are also flourishing away from England.
With just 12 top tier professional sides in the Gallagher Premiership, vacancies are limited for budding coaches and the opportunity to learn and develop within the profession abroad is too good of an opportunity to turn down for many of them.