Nick Evans has today (Tuesday 18th April) announced that he will retire from rugby at the end of the season following a stellar career within the sport, and at the Club.
On confirming the news, the former All Black said: “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.
“This game has taught me everything, showed me things I could never imagine and introduced me to people that are not teammates but family.
“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 and cheers.
“I will never be able to express how much representing the All Blacks, and living my childhood dream, meant to me.
“I want to thank my parents and brother who are my biggest fans, and thank them for all the support, trips to training and games, and their “constructive criticism” as only family can give.
“But most importantly my wife Sally and kids Olivia, Harry and Billy, thank you for being there through good and bad and making it easy to play the game I love; your support has been amazing.
“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.
“Importantly I have to also thank the players for keeping me going over my time here. I am only a little cog in the Harlequins machine and I couldn’t have done anything without my mates beside me on the field.”
Joining Harlequins in 2008, he has been nothing short of monumental for the Club. In his 206 senior appearances, he has played 14, 693 minutes of rugby, and amassed a club record 2,217 points across 30 tries, 309 conversions, 476 penalties and seven drop goals.
Regarded as one of the best play makers in the game he has been one of the masterminds of the club’s success, unlocking its attacking potential with his deceptive pace and his ability to expose defensive weaknesses.
Among his many stand out moments, his last gasp drop goal against Stade Francais at The Stoop, kicking the winning conversion in the 2011 Amlin Challenge Cup Final, and scoring 20 points in the Aviva Premiership Final will live long in the history of Harlequins and its supporters.
It was in 2013 that he overtook Club President Bob Hiller’s 37 year record as the Club’s record points scorer and is the highest scoring overseas player in the Aviva Premiership.
At international level, Evans made his Test debut for New Zealand against England and won a total of 16 caps, scoring 103 points. He won the last of his caps at the 2007 Rugby World Cup.
Away from the field, the keen fisherman has selflessly dedicated his time to mentoring the developing talent within the Club, and has also taken on the role of coaching at Wimbledon RFC in National 3.
A true professional on and off the field, he has written his name firmly into the Club’s history.
Confirming the news, Harlequins Director of Rugby, John Kingston said: “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 Aviva Premiership Champions in 2012.
“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 performances.
“I have no doubt he will make his decision on ‘what next?’ in his usual diligent manner but whatever it is, I wish him, Sally and his children all the very best while thanking him immensely for his incredible contribution to Harlequins.”