Nick Easter inspired Harlequins to a 32-12 Premiership victory over Leicester on Saturday, defying his years to make hard yards in the loose and frequently finding holes in the defence with clever footwork and quick hands.
Easter won the last of his 47 England caps in 2011 and has never played for his country under Lancaster but Morgan’s injury could force a rethink with the Six Nations looming large ahead of this year’s World Cup.
“I’ve stopped speaking to Stuart Lancaster about Nick,” Harlequins director of rugby Conor O’Shea told reporters. “Nick wants to play for England.
“Stuart’s worry has always been, will he get to the World Cup with the ability to play at that intensity and pace? Look at that performance against Leicester.”
The highlight of Easter’s display against Leicester was the gravity-defying one-handed offload which released Danny Care for the game’s opening try.
England have a well-organised and effective forward pack full of powerful scrummagers, strong runners and fierce tacklers but Lancaster is short of game-changers.
A back-row of Chris Robshaw, Tom Wood and, in the absence of Morgan, Billy Vunipola does not possess the guile and craft which Easter has in abundance.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have Nick at the club while I’ve been here – he plays at a level very few people can – that offload (to Care) wasn’t just world class, it was out of this world,” O’Shea said.
“The harder the going gets and the more we’re under pressure, the better he plays – I said to him four years ago I’d stop playing him every week, but I can’t stop playing him every week.”
(Editing by Justin Palmer)