Easter wins December award

Harlequins powerhouse Nick Easter has been named Aviva Premiership Player of the Month for December.

The No 8 turned in a series of superb performances as Quins closed out the year on a high with four victories in five matches.

Easter's impressive form failed to earn him an England recall as he was overlooked for Stuart Lancaster's Elite Player Squad, but he has been recognised by a panel of media professionals.

Former England scrum-half Austin Healey paid a glowing tribute to Easter and insisted the 35-year-old still had plenty to offer at all levels of the game.

Healey said: "Minty by nickname and looking fresh as ever on the field too. Top of the off load charts and total carries show that the old man's work load hasn't reduced.

"His great support play comes from a fantastic ability to read the game, in dare I say it an old fashioned way.

"His physicality and all round skill levels need to be appreciated and have been as the worthwhile winner of the Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Month award."

Easter topped the December poll ahead of his Harlequins team-mate Charlie Walker, Northampton veteran Stephen Myler and Saracens wing David Strettle.