If Harlequins do not secure a home semi-final tie in the Premiership play-offs, number eight Nick Easter reckoned they could draw some comfort from bitter experience.

Director of rugby Conor O’Shea’s men head to Sale Sharks tomorrow in search of the win they need to secure home advantage for next weekend’s play-off opener.

Quins crashed 17-0 to London Irish at the Stoop the last time they reached the knock-out stages of the competition in 2009.

And Easter insisted that – and wins at Toulouse, Gloucester and Saracens this season – should be inspiration enough when it comes to reaching a first Premiership final in the club’s history.

“Being at home does give you an edge, but some of our best performances this year have come on the road,” he said.

“Our defeat to London Irish is one of the only times the home team has lost a semi-final.

“We had a half-fit Nick Evans that day and we were unable to take our chances in the first half and it cost us.

“The majority of that team is still at the club and there are a few boys with a point to prove.”

But first they must beat one of the Premiership’s form sides in Sale, and Easter admitted that would not be a trip down easy street.

“We haven’t got a great record, but I think it will be the first time in a long time where I have played there in the daylight,” he added.

“They have turned a corner recently and are on a roll, so it is going to be a tough test.”

Easter has been in sparkling form since Christmas and he believed that is down to O’Shea’s management of his playing resources this term.

He said: “We have played a lot of rugby over a long period, but the squad is fit and fresh because we have been given time off during the season.”