Evans: No regrets over All Black snub
May 16, 2011
Nick Evans has been hugely influential for Harlequins © Getty Images
Harlequins fly-half Nick Evans does not regret his decision to turn his back on the All Blacks in Rugby World Cup year.
The 30-year-old is widely regarded as the best man to understudy Dan Carter but New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) rules prevent All Blacks coach Graham Henry from selecting any overseas-based players, for fear it would spark an exodus.
Evans agreed a new two-year deal at the Stoop last summer and believes that he made the correct decision.
"I knew the rules. The opportunity to go back would have been great but what do I do then? All of a sudden I would be competing for the same spots with everyone else," he said.
"I caught up with Graham and (NZRU chief executive) Steve Tew when they were over. We had a chat and a laugh about it. It is the life of a professional sportsman that money drives a lot the way you think. We are not bankers, we can't be bankers until we are 65 and earn ridiculous amounts of money.
"We have got until we are 35 or 36 if we are lucky. That is it. We go from the top of our game to the bottom with everyone else. We have to look after ourselves. I had played 16 Tests and been to a World Cup. I had ticked all the boxes I wanted to with the All Blacks. Looking back I felt I had played as well as I could and I didn't have any regrets I had left anything behind."
Evans does not believe that there will be an influx of Kiwi stars in the Premiership following the World Cup, with France and Japan now preferred destinations. Chris Jack, Luke McAlister, Aaron Mauger and Butch James all moved to England following the 2007 tournament but Evans predicts that only players with an appetite for the fight will opt to do the same this time.
"You won't see as many people coming here with the money and the amount of games you play," he said. "It is easy when you get thrown a lot of money in France and Japan, and where you don't play as many games. The Premiership can chew you up and spit you out pretty easily.
"I had the impression that no matter how well I played I wasn't going to start Tests in front of Dan, which is fine because he is the best in the world. I didn't want to rest on my laurels and pick up my pay packet, I wanted to challenge myself in the hardest competition in Europe. That is reflected in the way I have played these last three seasons.
"I am happy with what I earn but it was more than that for me. It is a challenge I thoroughly enjoy, playing tough teams week in and week out. I enjoy Quins, I enjoy London and I feel I play well here. I definitely don't regret it."
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