Harlequins fly-half Nick Evans admits New Zealand regrets

Harlequins fly-half Nick Evans admits he found it tough to watch New Zealand win the World Cup back in October

By Sportsbeat
new zealand lift world cup
New Zealand beat France to win the World Cup in 2011 PA Photos

new zealand lift world cup

Despite Harlequins sitting pretty at the top of the Aviva Premiership table – fly-half Nick Evans admits he has found it tough to forget about New Zealand.

His move to West London in 2008 ended his All Blacks career and as he prepares to face Bath this weekend – Evans revealed he has had regrets after seeing New Zealand win the World Cup for the first time in 24 years late last year.

Stephen Donald – now of Bath – kicked the winning points in the World Cup final against France despite starting the tournament as New Zealand’s number four fly-half and Evans revealed ‘it could have been me’.

Donald will be missing for Bath at the weekend through injury, meaning Tom Heathcote will fill the number ten jersey but Evans is looking forward to a reunion with his countryman.

“I would be lying if there was not a part of me that thought Stephen Donald in the World Cup final could have been me,” said Evans.

“The good thing for me, confidence wise, is that people were still talking about me as someone who could go back and play in that final.

“If I was not playing well then my name would not have come up. It is nice to be in that frame but most of me was just kicking back as a Kiwi fan.

“I haven’t seen Stephen since he has been over but I’m sure I will catch up with him at some point.

“To come off the high of winning the World Cup and then to come into the Premiership takes a while to get used to. I am sure he will get over his injuries and come back roaring.”

The Quins play-off charge has stuttered in recent weeks, with a 29-23 loss at Kingsholm followed by a 9-9 draw against Newcastle at Kingston Park.

But as Harlequins prepare to return to the Stoop in the Premiership for the first time since beating Worcester 16-14 in mid-February – Evans is hopeful home comforts will result in a return to form.

“It will be nice to return to the Stoop, it feels like ages since we have been there,” added Evans, who will come face-to-face with a Bath side who lost a narrow LV=Cup semi-final against Leicester just two weeks ago.

“It is the start of a big passage of time for us leading into the finals.

“After the start we had, a lot of people thought we would fall by the wayside but to our credit we have managed to stick with it.

“But Bath are fighting for European spots so it is going to be a big game and a start of a big run-in.”

If you buy a ticket for this year’s Aviva Premiership Final on 26 May you will receive a free rugby shirt. Go to www.premiershiprugby.com/freeshirt to buy yours.

© Sportsbeat 2012


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