Easter backs young duo to shine
July 12, 2012
Nick Easter has tipped Luke Wallace and Ollie Lindsay-Hague to shine © Getty Images
Harlequins No.8 Nick Easter has called on the club's youngsters to impress the watching senior team and management when they run out at the J.P.Morgan Asset Management Sevens Series on Friday evening.
More and more Premiership clubs are using the competition to blood promising but untried youngsters into competitive first team action, where coaching staff can witness firsthand how they react to a big crowd and a pressure-cooker situation. Owen Farrell - now competing with Toby Flood to be England's premier fly-half jersey - featured for Saracens as they won the competition in 2010, while Quins unleashed Ollie Lindsay-Hague and Luke Wallace in last season's J.P Morgan 7s competition.
And Easter, who has 47 caps for England, insists grooming the next generation in the annual top-flight 7s competition is a key ingredient in the club's recent success story.
"The JP Morgan tournament is essential for Harlequins," said Easter. "7s has always been a breeding ground for finding out people's skill sets a lot more than the 15-a-side game - the proof is in the pudding.
"At Harlequins we have had some young guys come through who have shown their ways on the 7s circuit to the management and senior players in the squad as opposed to on the training ground where they are required to hold pads and work in the gym."
Easter has been impressed by the emergence of the likes of Lindsay-Hague and Wallace in the last 12 months and backed the pair to sparkle again in this year's competition for Harlequins. "Usually you'll get guys who have come into the academy and shown potential," he added. "I'm sure Ollie Lindsay-Hague and Luke Wallace from last year could be there again - they have been very impressive indeed.
"But I imagine young academy players will want to show their teeth in the tournament as well because 7s is a good development tool. You are given more space and things like footwork, speed and hand-off skills come into it.
"Defensively you have to make sure you work hard and work as a link, there is also an element of contact so your ruck skills and ability to steal the ball need to be sharp."
The J.P. Morgan Premiership Rugby 7s Series kicks off on 13 July at Harlequins, with rounds at Sale Sharks and Gloucester Rugby, and the final at Bath Rugby. Visit: www.jpmorgan7s.com to find out more.
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