All Blacks lock to winemaker is not a common theme but, then, Bryn Evans’ rugby odyssey has never been predictable. He may, in fact, be one of the last quintessential bolters to grace the black jersey.
No one saw Evans’ All Blacks call-up coming. Not least the man himself.
Prior to the phone call from All Blacks manager Darren Shand that woke him from a slumber on the couch, Evans was coming off the bench at the Hurricanes.
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“It was definitely out of left field,” Evans recalls while perched on a park bench in Manchester with his sleeping daughter, Bowie, in tow. “I’d take that call any day of the week.”
Next thing Evans knew he was preparing to play a test match against France.
Evans always showed promise as a reliable, hard-working lock. But as far as All Blacks bolters go, he must rank near the top.
On the road to Super Rugby, he progressed through the Joe Schmidt-coached Napier Boys’ High School first XV alongside Zac Guildford, Colin Bourke, Callum Bruce and Glen Horton.
“He was drawing up some pretty advanced whiteboard plans,” Evans says of Schmidt.
“Once the boys got a grasp of that it was good fun.”
Provincial footy with the Hawke’s Bay Magpies followed. One fond memory is the 8-6 victory over the star-laden Wellington side which eventually lost the final to Auckland.
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