Kiwi playmaker Evans extends Quins stay
LONDON (AFP) –
Former New Zealand outside-half Nick Evans has ended speculation about his immediate future by signing a new three-year deal with English Premiership champions Harlequins, the London club said Thursday.
Evans, capped 16 times by the All Blacks, had been linked with lucrative moves to French and Japanese clubs but instead the 32-year-old will be staying at The Stoop until at least 2016 having joined from New Zealand’s Otago four years ago.
The fly-half has scored almost 1,200 points for Quins and his status as one of English top-flight rugby’s most successful imports was confirmed when he was named the (English) Rugby Players’ Association player of the season last term.
“There is not a player, supporter or coach in the game in England, let alone Harlequins, who will not be delighted that Nick Evans has agreed to stay with us for another three years,” said Conor O’Shea, Harlequins’ director of rugby.
“The Aviva Premiership wants the best players playing in it and Nick is one of the very best. He contributes so much to this club both on and off the field and is the perfect role model for all young players,” former Ireland full-back O’Shea added.
“While I know one of the main reasons he is staying with us revolves around his family, ultimately it is about his ambition to achieve things with this club.
“We have started something here and Nick wants to see it through. His decision to stay is a great early Christmas present for all Harlequins supporters.”
Evans, speaking about his new deal, said: “Myself and my family are happy to have the opportunity to stay at Harlequins. I’m looking forward to continuing to play with a great bunch of lads and to working with a special coaching staff.
“There is no limit to what this team can achieve and I am excited to have an influence both on and off the field.
“My decision was made easy by the ambition of this great club, the success we have had and the hunger to want more,” Evans added. “The support I have had from the supporters has been amazing and I will do my best to help the club stay one of the major forces in English and European rugby.”
Quins are currently top of the Premiership table while they started their European Cup campaign with consecutive wins over France’s Biarritz and Ireland’s Connacht last month.
Evans went off injured against Biarritz nearly three weeks ago but is understood to be on the brink of returning to action.