As part of Harlequins’ rampant spending spree ahead of next season, the London club have signed Leicester’s Will Evans – as first flagged by RugbyPass in January.
The 22-year-old flanker is regarded as a highly promising player at Leicester, and has even been called up to Eddie Jones’ England squad in the past. This is where he would have encountered current Quins boss Paul Gustard, who is obviously an admirer of his.
To date, Harlequins have made seven new signings this week, which has a blend of experienced and inexperience, with plenty of international caps included.
The Quins fans are keen to see the former England u20s star arrive at the Stoop, with the signing being described by one fan as the “best one yet”. That is some statement given the calibre of players that are arriving next season such as Michele Campagnaro, Scott Baldwin and Martin Landajo.
However, what is most noticeable on social media is the disappointment from Leicester fans, who have seen yet another promising young player leave that has come through their academy.
This is what the fans are saying:
Best one yet in my opinion, so underrated and massive potential. Just needs game time.
— J (@J_A_C_K_P) March 20, 2019
We're sorry to see him go. He's a real talent. Well done ?
— Symon Vegro (@symonvegro) March 20, 2019
He is a massive talent! Never got the games he deserved at Tigers and I’m sad to be losing him. You’ve made a fantastic signing and I wish him and Quins all the best next season ??
— Tom Home (@_tomhome) March 20, 2019
Gutted to see him leave very talented young player
— Matthew Dobson (@MattDob92) March 20, 2019
We have an habit of bringing youth players through the ranks then allowing them to slip through our fingers
— arcticblond (@arcticblond1) March 20, 2019
Real shame, great open side, I was hoping that he would be another of the ex academy players that we have recently re-signed
— Rupert heath (@rheath99) March 20, 2019
Shame awesome player
— Eddy Crowe (@EddyCrowe) March 20, 2019
Shame he’s leaving I think he could be another one who will blossom away from welford road I assume Wallace coming the other way(great player) but not sure swapping early 20s for late 20s is that smart
— michael bush (@mabush1986) March 20, 2019
Very bad decision from the club. I understand that will may have said that he wants to leave no matter what but we should be trying to keep players like him. Great prospect but another odd decision by the management team
— liam miller (@liamisbeast12) March 20, 2019
Leicester are going through a tough season, and while they have been able to tie down Manu Tuilagi at Welford Road, many fans would have liked to see some of the next generation remain with the club. While Tommy Reffell is one player that has recently recommitted to the club, that may be at the expense of Evans, which provides both good and bad news.
However, Evans has struggled for game time with the Tigers this year, and a move to Harlequins may be the best thing for his career. England on the whole has had quite a dearth of talented openside flankers over the years, but Evans looks to be a member of the emerging cohort of talented sevens, and could thrive under the tutelage of Gustard.
While some fans can sometimes understand why a player would want to move away, this is one that the Leicester fans are rueing, and fearing that this could be another talent that got away from them.
Tell us what you think about the Rugby World Cup and you could win £100