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Ex-Harlequins boss Mark Evans joins a Super Rugby Pacific club

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Tim Ireland/PA Images via Getty Images)

Fijian Drua have named Mark Evans, the former Saracens director of rugby and Harlequins CEO and coach, as new CEO ahead of their second season in the Super Rugby Pacific tournament. Having exited the Premiership in 2011, the versatile administrator went on to work at NRL’s Melbourne Strom and Super Rugby’s Western Force and was seeking out a new CEO role after Global Rapid Rugby was shelved by the pandemic.

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That position has now materialised in Fiji where he will take over on a three-year deal beginning on October 17 from interim CEO Brian Thorburn, who served as a caretaker in the role since the Drua were given the Super Rugby green light in 2021.

Posting a link to a story published by The Fiji Sun, Evans tweeted: “Looks as though I may be moving. Be a hell of a commute otherwise.”

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Evans, who told RugbyPass in May 2020 all about Rapid Rugby and his other adventures, said in a Fijian Drua statement: “The opportunity to help build upon the impressive start made by the Drua was extremely attractive.

“Our aim is to put the whole operation on a long-term, sustainable, successful path and become a real force in the competition and in doing so bring pride and enjoyment to all our supporters. I’m really looking forward to being a part of the Drua and Fiji Rugby vuvale soon.”

Commodore Tawake, the Fiji Rugby chairman, added: “We would like to acknowledge the outstanding work of interim CEO Brian Thorburn, who was instrumental in the setting up and first-year operations of the Fijian Drua. Brian and the small Fijian Drua team worked tirelessly to get us through our historic first season of Super Rugby, and we thank him for leading our brand new franchise so far. Brian returns to Fiji Rugby as our general manager commercial, as we embark on a busy and important next 18 months of the rugby calendar.”

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Interim CEO Thorburn said: “This was one of the most important decisions in our short history and the board took its time to get it right. Our executive search firm Odgers Berndtson facilitated an independent and thorough global recruitment process where a number of strong candidates were considered for the role.”

The Drua statement added: “We are delighted to welcome Mark to Fiji to lead the Drua’s onward journey and help Fijian rugby reach even greater heights. The Drua was created to be that crucial link for our athletes between the domestic rugby competition and the Flying Fijians set-up.

“A strong Super Rugby Pacific franchise is critical for our aspirations of being among the top-ranked rugby nations in the world. With his hands holding the oars of our Drua, Mark will guide the club to do exactly that. Fiji Rugby will also benefit from his wealth of experience in professional rugby and sports in general – both on the commercial and coaching sides.”

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