By Neale Harvey
Nick Easter insists there are “no limits” to his coaching ambitions after helping South Africa’s Sharks clinch their first Currie Cup title since 2013.
Former England No.8 Easter, 40, lost his previous job as defence coach at Harlequins in May but bounced back in style at the Durban-based Sharks, who defeated Western Province 17-13 last Saturday in front of 30,000 in Cape Town.
Easter, now back in England after completing a three-month stint, told The Rugby Paper: “It couldn’t have gone better. Rob du Preez, the Sharks head coach, invited me down and the players, the whole coaching team and staff were so welcoming.
“It wasn’t just a case of fitting me in, I played a full part in coaching the breakdown, lineout and maul and helped out in defence and attack as well.
“It was a good opportunity to get some experience in the Southern Hemisphere which coaches from the North don’t do too often. I learnt a lot from being exposed to different coaching principles and I’ll always back myself to keep improving.
“I knew the Currie Cup had a lot of history but it was bigger than I thought and it means so much to South Africans. The interest it generated was terrific and to grind out the final win through pure grit in front of that crowd was very pleasing.”
Undaunted by his disappointing exit at Harlequins, Easter added: “I’m open to any coaching options that are out there at the moment and you can’t put a limit on where you might go because that’s the job I’m in – it’s a nomadic one at times.
“I want to be the best coach I can be and if you put limitations on where I am or what job I do, I won’t be able to achieve that. A top-flight job would be first prize because you want to be working with the best players in the best environments.”
Meanwhile, Easter is backing Sharks fly-half Robert du Preez to be a smash-hit at Sale after he agreed a three-month contract with the club.
Easter likens Du Preez, the son of Sharks boss Rob, to Owen Farrell, explaining: “He’s a natural leader who talks well, organises and has a good kicking game.
“You need to be physical up here because the Premiership’s very attritional but he defends as well as any fly-half and he’s very strong. He’s very similar to Owen Farrell and his arrival will be a big fillip to Sale during an important three months.
“Faf De Klerk will help him and he’ll drive the guys and demand high standards. With the World Cup around the corner, it’s good for his career.”