Former Harlequins and England number eight, Nick Easter, has been named as the 2017 recipient of the RPA Special Merit Award to be presented at the RPA Players’ Awards in association with England Rugby, on Wednesday 10th May at Battersea Evolution, London.
The RPA Special Merit Award recognises an outstanding contribution to rugby in England and Easter, who joined Harlequins from Orrell in 2004 and achieved a record 281 appearances for the Twickenham club, is recognised alongside previous recipients Charlie Hodgson, Mark Cueto MBE and Steve Borthwick in receiving the honour. During an exceptional career the 38-year-old was a member of the 2011 Harlequins Challenge Cup winning team and played a crucial role in Quins securing their first Aviva Premiership title in 2012. He also won 54 caps for England and played in three Rugby World Cups, including the England World Cup final team in 2007. Following his retirement from professional rugby in July last year, Nick has been working full-time as Harlequins Defence Coach.
On receiving the news of his award, Nick said: "I feel extremely privileged to be announced as the winner of such a prestigious award, it's a great honour and I must thank the Players' Board for their kind recognition. I cherished every moment of my rugby career, I was very lucky to play alongside so many outstanding players and in such great teams. I look forward to attending an event which supports such an important charity in Restart Rugby."
Damian Hopley, Group CEO of the RPA, said: “Nick’s commitment and dedication to English rugby has been a testament to his incredible 13 years as both a professional player and a coach, and it’s fantastic to celebrate his achievements as the 2017 Special Merit Award winner. As one of the great characters in English rugby, Nick is highly regarded as one of the hardest working back-rows of his time and his passion and commitment for club and country makes him a deserving winner of this award.” To book your places at The RPA Players’ Awards 2017 in association with England Rugby and to rub shoulders with the past and present heroes of the game please call 020 3053 6670 or email Martin Olima on molima@theRPA.co.uk.