All Black Evans to retire
NEWS: Harlequins and New Zealand flyhalf Nick Evans is to retire from Rugby Union at the end of the Northern Hemisphere season, the English Premiership club announced on Tuesday.
The 36-year-old joined the Twickenham-based side in 2008 and has since made more than 200 appearances and scored a club record 2 217 points.
But by signing for Quins, Evans effectively called time on an All Blacks' career that yielded 16 caps from 2004 to 2007, although by that stage he was being eclipsed at international level by flyhalf great Daniel Carter.
Evans, who began his career with Otago and played for the Highlanders and the Blues in Super Rugby, was a central figure as Quins won the second-tier European Challenge Cup in 2011 and took the Premiership title the following year.
"I thought leaving New Zealand was hard, but leaving the game I've played since I was eight years old - and professionally for 17 years - is tough. But when you know, you know," said Evans in a Harlequins statement.
"This game has taught me everything, showed me things I could never imagine and introduced me to people that are not teammates, but family."
Evans, widely regarded as one of the best overseas signings in Premiership history, added: "I need to thank the clubs I have represented, the coaches who have helped shape the player I am today, and the fans, both in New Zealand where it all started, and here in the UK, for their support.
"I couldn't think of a better shirt and place to finish my career at than Harlequins, I want to thank the club and fans for making myself and my family feel unbelievably welcome. It has made our time so special."
Harlequins Director of Rugby John Kingston paid tribute to the stand-off by saying: "The word 'legendary' is really over-used within the modern sporting world, but in the case of Nick Evans and his rugby playing career at Harlequins, it is the perfect description.
"From the moment he arrived in 2008, he has been at the forefront of taking the club to heights never experienced before, including being crowned Premiership champions in 2012."
Kingston added: "Not only has his on-field play been outstanding, but he has set the ultimate standards of professionalism in everything asked of him during his time here.
"It is a huge statement to make, but I genuinely question if any player in the history of the club has had such an impact on team performances."