Wales victory eclipses World Cup, says Easter

NICK EASTER believes England’s victory over Wales on Saturday is even more significant than reaching the World Cup final in 2007.

The Harlequins No8 is one only a handful of survivors from the successful campaign in France, where they narrowly lost out in the final to South Africa.

But he insists the achievements of Martin Johnson’s men in bouncing back from a wretched autumn international campaign to beat a star-studded Welsh line-up eclipses even that, and suggests it could provide the platform for a bright new future.

“It was up there as one of the most meaningful results I have been involved in,” Easter said. “We are just glad now that we have a yardstick and I don’t think it will be another false dawn.

“The environment is a lot more relaxed. As an international side, you try and achieve it becoming more like a club environment and player led, which Johnno is always striving for.

“We are getting there. We have been together for two weeks, we have had one result, so I am not getting carried away but we are definitely heading in the right direction.

“We are getting some sort of identity, which is what we want. To get the result with three tries, it was a good start. We showed character when Wales came back from 20-3 to 20-17.”

Next up for England are perennial strugglers Italy in Rome on Sunday, but Easter insist no-one will be taking anything for granted.

“It is a must-win game in Italy but it is going to be tough,” he added. “They are a good side. They have been in the Six Nations now for 10 years.

“A lot of their players are playing in our league and the French league. They have got good strength in depth, particularly in the forwards.”