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20 Questions: Mark Easter – Sale Sharks No.8

Mark EasterPleased with your season so far?

Delighted. I injured my shoulder last November but recovered in time for the start of this season and things have been going pretty well.

Sale have surprised a few people?

The comments were fair enough considering where we finished last year, but we’d already turned things around and have carried on that form.

Born in Swaziland, weren’t you?

Oddly enough, yes. My mum is South African, her dad was a doctor in Swaziland and she was visiting home when I was born. I’ve not been back.

Close to your brother, Nick?

We keep in touch occasionally, but not every day. I catch up with him when I visit my parents in London and I’ve been to a few Quins games.

He’s done well for himself?

Yes. He was disappointed not to be part of the EPS after Stuart Lancaster took over but he’s worked hard and done very well for Quins.

Much sibling rivalry?

We never crossed paths at school, he was five years ahead of me, but we came from a sporting family and always played sports together at home. He was a typical bullying older brother but I learnt how to handle myself.

Wasn’t your dad, John, a squash pro?

Yes, he was very good and used to be on the pro tour. Jonah Barrington is my brother’s godfather.

How did you get into rugby?

I played most sports at Dulwich School, but rugby was big so I gravitated to that. I then played at Nottingham University before joining Nottingham.

Other sports you were good at?

Hockey and cricket. I was a decent batsman and Eoin Morgan was in our team at Dulwich. He was younger but you could see his quality.

Joined Saints in 2005?

Yes, I went through relegation, promotion and quite a few coaches as well! But I had some great years with Jim Mallinder and Dorian West.

Proud to play a part in the Saints revival?

I was. The year we went down I played a lot of rugby and we surprised a few teams in the Premiership after that. They’ve been a top four side ever since.

Proudest moments in rugby?

It was amazing to be involved in the 2011 Heineken Cup final. Disappointing to lose but I’ve never experienced an atmosphere like that. Winning the Amlin and LV= Cups with Saints was special, too.

Big future for Saints?

They’re improving all the time. We went down there recently and they just outgunned us off the bench. They’ll be contenders if they can keep their form.

How do you chill out?

I’ve got a five-month old daughter, Florence, so between spending time with her, walking our two dogs and the rugby, there isn’t much chill-out space.

Must have at least one hobby?

I do enjoy golf and there’s a few decent players at Sale. During the summer I played a bit with Nick Mcleod and Tom Holmes.

If you could invite three dinner guests, who would they be?

I’m a big fan of The Dog Whisperer, so Cesar Millan for starters. Then I’d have James Corden for a laugh and Stephen Fry because he knows everything and is an interesting guy.

Best and worst banter at Sale?

Worst is our conditioner, Adam Grainger. He’s Irish and comes out with some very random stuff. Best is ‘cheeky-chappy’ Will Cliff… it’s always the scrum-halves!

Best and worst dressed?

Worst has to be Danny Cipriani. Thinks he’s in London and dresses down, although he doesn’t look too bad on camera! Best is Tom Arscott, who’s always well turned out.

Enjoy having ‘celebrity’ Cips around?

It doesn’t affect anything. We see stuff in the papers but we are all used to it. Once we’re at work he just gets on with it.

Realistic ambitions for the season?

We want to win all our remaining home games, win more games than we lose and finish in the top six. I think that’s realistic and so far, so good.

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