Six Nations: Nick Easter targets England starting place

Nick Easter
Easter won his 50th cap for England in the 19-9 defeat by Ireland last Sunday

Number eight Nick Easter wants to start for England after featuring as a replacement in their first three matches in the Six Nations.

The 36-year-old Harlequins forward was recalled to the national squad before the tournament following an absence which lasted more than three years.

"I've thoroughly enjoyed the games when I came on," he told BBC London 94.9.

"Obviously I'd love to start a game and so would everyone else - but you can only put 15 out there."

Easter, nominally back-up for number eight Billy Vunipola, has appeared as a second-row replacement in the first three rounds of the Six Nations, coming on for the last eight minutes against Wales, half-an-hour against Italy and the last 14 minutes against Ireland.

He says he is "happy" with the playing time he has got so far, but believes coach Stuart Lancaster and his management team accept that players will demand more action.

"They are open to it," he said. "They want players challenging them and challenging each other.

"I don't think anyone will be happy with not being involved or if you are, you'd rather start. That is just the competitive nature of it."

Easter's last international start came in the defeat by France in the quarter-finals of the 2011 World Cup, and he was was subsequently omitted from the England set-up once Lancaster became coach in early 2012.

Nick Easter and Julien Bonnaire
Easter's last start for England came in the 19-12 loss to France in the 2011 World Cup quarter-finals

But, with Gloucester number eight Ben Morgan being ruled out of the tournament with a broken leg, Easter was named in England's Six Nations squad following consistent performances for Harlequins.

He won his 50th cap for England when he came on in the 19-9 defeat by Ireland in Dublin last Sunday, and the former Sale man is adamant they can move on from that setback.

"Clearly last week we just left it a little bit too late really," he said. "We didn't really fire a shot and there was big disappointment in the camp from that.

"That will not happen again in the Six Nations, or from here until the end of the year. We've got to get back on the horse and I think there has been a good reaction in training."

England's next game is at home to Scotland on Saturday (17:00 GMT).

Defeat in Dublin left Lancaster's team second in the standings with four points, two behind leaders Ireland and level on points with third-placed Wales.

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