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Former All Black Nick Evans joins England for 2023 Six Nations

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Harlequins have confirmed that Nick Evans, the former All Blacks out-half, will join Steve Borthwick’s England as an assistant coach ahead of next month’s start to the 2023 Guinness Six Nations. The 42-year-old, who won 16 caps with New Zealand between 2004 and 2007, is currently the attack and backs coach at The Stoop and the Gallagher Premiership club reported on Friday afternoon that the Kiwi has moved into the Test coaching arena on a short-term basis.

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A statement read: “Harlequins can confirm that attack and backs coach Nick Evans will link up with the England team during their 2023 Six Nations campaign on a short-term contract.

“With England’s Six Nations bye weeks falling on weekends of Harlequins’ matches, Evans will return to club duty part-time throughout the Six Nations campaign ahead of the club’s matches against Gloucester and Exeter in the Gallagher Premiership. Evans will return to Harlequins full-time following the conclusion of the 2023 Six Nations.”

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Billy Millard, the Harlequins director of rugby performance, 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’m also confident he will provide Steve and the playing group with excellent support and direction through the 2023 Six Nations period.”

In a separate RFU statement, new England boss Borthwick added: “I’m 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.

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“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 would 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.”

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There was no mention in the RFU statement about the situation of Martin Gleeson, who had been the England attack coach under Eddie Jones in recent years. The recruitment of Evans, which will be positive news for Marcus Smith, the England out-half whom he works with at club level, is the latest development in the new Borthwick era which began with his appointment of Kevin Sinfield as defence coach.    

This was followed by last Monday’s confirmation that scrum coach Matt Proudfoot had stepped down after three years, sparking speculation that Saracens’ Ian Peel could come in to work alongside forwards coach Richard Cockerill. The RFU also confirmed at the start of the week that Brett Hodgson and Danny Kerry had left the England coaching team.

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