Guinness Premiership
Easter backs Quins to come back brighter
August 28, 2009

Harlequins No.8 Nick Easter believes that the club can come back brighter after the recent 'Bloodgate' scandal.

Quins lost director of rugby Dean Richards to a three-year ban and winger Tom Williams for four months after they were found guilty of fabricating a blood injury in last season's Heineken Cup quarter-final loss to Leinster at the Twickenham Stoop. The club was also handed a £260,000 fine.

With their Guinness Premiership campaign set to kick off with the London Double Header at Twickenham on September 5, Easter maintains that the players are focused only on improving their performances on the domestic and European stages.

"Harlequins' reputation has taken a lot of damage but as far as the players are concerned our goals have not changed - we are aiming for a top-four finish in the Premiership and the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup," said Easter. "They were the same last year and we achieved them. We hope to go one better in both competitions this year.

"It's not an ideal start to the season when you lose your director of rugby and one of your players in banned for four months. One of the main attributes of the squad last year was the belief in each other and the strong feeling that we had for one another.

"That trust allowed us to get to where we were and achieve some good wins. The team spirit is probably stronger now after this situation. Sometimes in life things make you stronger, don't they?"

Quins have expanded off-field during the summer, with a new south stand taking the capacity at the Stoop to 14,000 and another high-profile game at Twickenham this season - the London derby with Wasps on December 27.

"We have taken a huge reputational hit and that is going to take a huge amount of time to repair, we will need to work very hard to do that," admitted chief executive Mark Evans. "We have still got a product we can be proud of. We have done an awful lot of good things for a long time and I don't think one event defines an organisation, nor should one action define a person.

"We are one of the most ambitious clubs in England and that hasn't changed."


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