Harlequins have granted permission for the former All Black fly-half to link up with Steve Borthwick's squad
Nick Evans joins England as attack coach for Six Nations
Nick Evans will join England as attack coach for the Six Nations as Steve Borthwick continues to build his coaching team for the upcoming Championship, having already announced Kevin Sinfield as defence coach.
The Harlequins backs and attack coach has been granted permission to join up with England ahead of Borthwick’s first match in charge against Scotland at Twickenham on 4 February.
The move appears to bring Martin Gleeson’s long-term future, as the attack coach Borthwick inherited from the Eddie Jones era, into question. However, there has so far been no official comment regarding Gleeson’s role.
Evans won 16 caps for New Zealand before winning the Premiership as a player and a coach at Quins, where he has overseen an expansive and entertaining brand of rugby. His appointment is a boon for fly-half Marcus Smith and the likes of Harlequins winger Cadan Murley who was overlooked by Jones.
Borthwick thanked Harlequins for their co-operation with the RFU and revealed his excitement at what Evans can bring to his side.
He said: “I am delighted that Nick is joining our team ahead of the Six Nations.
“Nick brings with him a wealth of different experiences as a player and coach, which will be incredibly valuable to the growth of our team.
“I know that Nick understands the pride and responsibility that comes with representing your country.
“We aim to build an England team that our nation can be proud of, and I know that our supporters will be very excited by what Nick can bring to our side.
“We’d particularly like to thank Harlequins for their support in allowing Nick to work with us during this period. It’s a great example of club and country working together.”
Harlequins confirmed Evans will return to the club part-time for their Premiership games against Gloucester and Exeter Chiefs which fall during the bye weeks of the Six Nations and that he will rejoin the club full-time at the conclusion of the Championship.
Harlequins’ director of rugby performance Billy Millard said: “This is an amazing opportunity for Nick, where he will learn and grow so much, which can only be good for the Club. I am also confident he will provide Steve and the playing group with excellent support and direction through the 2023 Six Nations period.”
Opinion: Evans can get Twickenham fans off their seat
While it is a bit of a lazy stereotype to suggest that all Harlequins do is chuck the ball around, Nick Evans can certainly help England entertain the home faithful at Twickenham once again, writes Josh Graham.
The boos that followed Eddie Jones’s side off the field after that chastening defeat to South Africa to round off the Autumn Nations Series proved to be the last sound of the Australian’s reign. However, if Evans can get the men in white firing on all cylinders like the Harlequins attack he has honed so well over the years, then the fans are in for a treat.
Quins are entertainers and that is something England have been sorely lacking of late. And while results are definitely important, England are in need of a feel-good factor and Evans could be just the ticket.
It appears to be just a temporary appointment but if the Championship goes well then you’d think it might be hard for Evans and Quins to resist if the RFU come calling on a full-time basis.
It may also be brilliant news for Marcus Smith’s hopes of starting at fly-half, just as the calls for Owen Farrell to be returned to the No 10 shirt grew louder.
It is a tough ask for Evans to walk in the door and shake things up from the off but he could be the perfect foil for the potentially more pragmatic old Leicester duo of Borthwick and Sinfield. Only time will tell.
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