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Ex-Worcester assistant Nick Easter admits his 'anger and resentment' at the owners has gone

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Ex-Worcester assistant Nick Easter admits his 'anger and resentment' at the owners has gone

Nick Easter’s mission to look after local heroes has begun in earnest, after five weeks of delays and disruption caused by winter freezes, rail strikes and pre-booked holidays.

Last night, when Chinnor RFC hosted Rosslyn Park at their ground outside Thame in Oxfordshire, it marked the belated launch of a new era under a high-profile director of rugby. And the launch was a resounding success as the home side beat their high-flying London rivals 48-12.

The former England No 8, who was suddenly made redundant by the collapse of Worcester, agreed to take charge at the National League One club on December 1, but has been restricted to planning, admin duties, gym sessions and passing drills in a marquee, until Tuesday this week.

Former Worcester assistant Nick Easter (centre) admits his 'anger and resentment' at the club's owners after being made redundant

Former Worcester assistant Nick Easter (centre) admits his ‘anger and resentment’ at the club’s owners after being made redundant

The former England international has now embarked on a career change, managing National League One side Chinnor

The former England international has now embarked on a career change, managing National League One side Chinnor

Having been alerted to the job opportunity in English rugby’s third tier by former Harlequins teammate Jordan Turner-Hall, Easter is understandably excited about this unexpected career move.

‘I’ve heard of Chinnor, but I don’t really know where it is,’ he said. ‘Jordan said the director of rugby had left and they were struggling, but there was a lot of talent and first-team potential, so I said, “Okay man, put my name in.”

Club president Simon Vickers called to explain more about the club and the role, and Easter agreed to join until the end of this season.

The broad remit appealed; overseeing forwards and defences, recruitment and re-signing, as well as assisting with fundraising, marketing and events planning. Then came the hold-ups.

‘They went to Hull on Saturday but I wasn’t there because I had previous engagements,’ he said. ‘The next week, it was meant to be my first game but because of the freezing weather both training sessions then the match was called off.

‘I spoke to the squad but we couldn’t do anything. We went to the gym, then we put some crash mats in the marquee and did a little bit of handling there – things were very low.

‘That Saturday got called, then next week too. I thought, “Let’s do a training session before Christmas and maybe we can get it before New Year”, but they all booked holidays so I just said, “Go on then, take the two weeks off! “.

‘They came in on Tuesday this week and it was our first full training session. The weather was bad, but at least we could get 30 people out there and actually do something. The front five may have put on a few pounds over Christmas, but they’re mostly back in pretty good nick.

‘Our S&C (strength and conditioning) guy Darren Oliver sends them their programs and if they do it is up to them. It’s their choice, but they’ll soon find out if they don’t do and I’m the one who will be all over them because as much as it’s not their job, they still have work to do.’

Temporarily exiled from the professional game, Easter – who coached rookies at Wimbledon RFC in his final years as a Quins player – is relishing the different demands of preparing a team where rugby is not their job , it’s just their passion. He has a diverse squad at his disposal.

Easter played for Harlequins for most of his career totaling 12 years before moving into coaching

Easter played for Harlequins for most of his career totaling 12 years before moving into coaching

‘There were a few who couldn’t make it because of the train strikes, working in the City,’ he said.

‘Rectory Homes are building developers who put in the finances to help keep the club afloat and have seven or eight players working for them. Some work on sites and some have moved on to become land buyers and sellers.

‘There are men with many other careers in the group, whether it’s wealth managers, accountants or tool removers. They come into it and they have something in common, because they do it for the love of the game. Refreshing, from my side.

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‘They came here to be free. Even when I was at Worcester and Newcastle, I wanted the meetings to be short, because whether you’re a professional or you train at 7pm on a Tuesday and Thursday night, you want to run around, get some air, play with the ball and play with your mates. These people have already done a day’s work so they don’t need the information overload on the screen.’

Easter’s main vision is that his Chinnor team can serve as inspirational role models in their community, just as the country’s top professionals can achieve that status on a larger scale.

“I still believe that, in a pyramid, no matter what level you are, people want to be inspired by local heroes, who are the first team,” he said.

Easter, who also had a spell coaching the Newcastle Falcons, is relishing the opportunity at Chinnor and hopes his team can serve as inspirational role models in their community.

Easter, who also had a spell coaching Newcastle Falcons, is relishing the opportunity at Chinnor and hopes his team will serve as inspirational role models in their community

‘The junior teams that come here want to see an Owen Farrell or a Maro Itoje playing for England, but they also want to be inspired by someone closer to home, who they can relate to. They might see them at the bar afterwards, or at a Sunday minis session. I think that’s really important.

‘What I quickly realized about this club is that it is in a very, very strong position. It’s really progressing. The minis section on a Sunday was over-flowing and they fielded five senior teams when many clubs would struggle to field two. I’m interested to know why that is.’

Tragically, Easter’s last job was at a club that was not progressing and ended up in ruin, due to the appalling mismanagement of co-owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham. Reflecting on Worcester’s death, he said: ‘It all happened so quickly.

‘I’ve lost my anger and resentment towards the owners, because you have to get on with your life. You can’t touch those things – and deal with them. What I am really happy about – and this is not the case for everyone, unfortunately – is that 25 to 30 players have found another club. It’s great to see that they’ve done that and that they’re making progress.

‘Being honest, if you did a pub quiz last year and said to people, “Name the 13 Premiership sides”, they’d forget us. Our job, going there with Dimes (Steve Diamond), was to put them on the map and the sad thing is we never had the chance to see if we could achieve that.’

One day, if Worcester is re-established, Easter won’t rule out a return there – ‘as if there’s unfinished business’ – but for now he wants his mission in Chinnor, while his family put down roots in Cheltenham , after stints in Durban and Newcastle.

He is also relishing the prospect of a resurgence in England under the complementary command of Steve Borthwick and Kevin Sinfield.

‘I think they are really good appointments,’ he said. ‘They will bring clarity and motivation. I heard Kevin Sinfield speak on Sports Personality of the Year, and it brought tears to my eyes – watching him there with Rob Burrow. Even as a cynical guy of 44 you think, “I want to play for that guy.”

‘England’s emotional intensity is lacking. Borthwick is smart enough to take Sinfield with him. I’m looking forward to seeing how they go and there’ll be no stone unturned.’

In Chinnor, Easter tends to bring clarity and motivation – and those at the club who have heard his early meetings attest to the emotional intensity aplenty too. He is about to return to the professional coaching ranks, but intends to leave a legacy of new heroes in Oxfordshire.