London - Harlequins'
former New Zealand flyhalf Nick Evans is to retire from rugby union at
the end of the northern hemisphere season, the English Premiership club
announced on Tuesday.
The 36-year-old joined the Twickenham-based side in 2008 and has
since made more than 200 appearances and scored a club record 2 217
But by signing for Quins, Evans effectively called time on an All
Blacks' career that yielded 16 caps from 2004 to 2007, although by that
stage he was being eclipsed at international level by flyhalf great Dan
Evans, who began his career with Otago and played for the Highlanders
and the Blues in Super Rugby, was a central figure as Quins won the
second-tier European Challenge Cup in 2011 and took the Premiership
title the following year.
"I thought leaving New Zealand was hard, but leaving the game I've
played since I was eight years old - and professionally for 17 years -
is tough. But when you know, you know," said Evans in a Harlequins
"This game has taught me everything, showed me things I could never
imagine and introduced me to people that are not team-mates, but
Evans, widely regarded as one of the best overseas signings in
Premiership history, added: "I need to thank the clubs I have
represented, the coaches who have helped shape the player I am today,
and the fans, both in New Zealand where it all started, and here in the
UK, for their support.
"I couldn't think of a better shirt and place to finish my career at
than Harlequins, I want to thank the club and fans for making myself and
my family feel unbelievably welcome. It has made our time so special."
Harlequins director of rugby John Kingston paid tribute to the
stand-off by saying: "The word 'legendary' is really over-used within
the modern sporting world, but in the case of Nick Evans and his rugby
playing career at Harlequins, it is the perfect description.
"From the moment he arrived in the summer of 2008, he has been at the
forefront of taking the club to heights never experienced before,
including being crowned Premiership champions in 2012."
Kingston added: "Not only has his on-field play been outstanding, but
he has set the ultimate standards of professionalism in everything
asked of him during his time here.
"It is a huge statement to make, but I genuinely question if any
player in the history of the club has had such an impact on team