Ospreys lure Gloucester star to Wales
TRANSFER NEWS: The Ospreys have swooped to complete the signing of No.8 Gareth Evans from Gloucester.
An experienced back row forward with Welsh roots, Evans is the second new face confirmed for next season so far alongside Wales’ first choice flyhalf Gareth Anscombe and he will link up with the Region for pre-season training at Llandarcy Academy of Sport next month.
A product of the Gloucester Rugby Academy, 27-year-old Evans comes with a reputation as a physical ball carrier, a reputation established across 85 senior appearances for the Cherry and Whites since his debut in the Premiership, against Worcester in 2011, aged just 19.
A specialist No.8, the 1.91m and 111kg Evans, has also turned out at blindside and openside for Gloucester. A European Challenge Cup winner in 2015, he starred in Gloucester’s 19-13 win over Edinburgh in the final.
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Speaking after signing his Ospreys contract on Thursday, Evans said that the Region has a big history and a bright future, a combination that made it an easy decision for him to take up a new challenge.
“It’s a great opportunity for me to join an awesome club and I can’t wait to get stuck in” said Evans.
“I’ve been a one-club guy all my career but the Ospreys are an awesome club, it’s got a great history and I’m joining a really good team that I think is in a really good place at the moment and has a big future ahead.
“Looking at the guys who are already here in the back-row we’ve got some top level guys so for me it’s going to be about getting my hands on the ball, carrying, and trying to get go forward for the team and give the guys out wide a bit of an opportunity to do some damage.
“My Dad’s Welsh, my Grandad lives up on the Llyn Peninsula, and that whole side of the family are thrilled that I’m joining the Ospreys. I grew up in England but my Dad always made sure I was supporting Wales whenever they were on the TV, and I have done ever since, so I’m really excited to be playing my rugby in Wales.”
Head Coach, Allen Clarke, said he’s delighted to capture a player who has been on his radar for some time:
“Gareth is someone I’ve been tracking for a while now. Having met him and his wife Antonia, it’s clear they are both delighted to be joining us at the Ospreys. I’m equally thrilled as I know Gareth will bring a different skillset to the squad.
“He’s had significant experience with Gloucester as a specialist eight in the Premiership and Europe, showing how dynamic and physical he can be with the ball in hand. He’s still young and hungry to improve. I’ve no doubt we have yet to see the best of him and I look forward to Gareth not only adding quality competition to our back row roster but competing for a starting spot in the team.”
Rugby General Manager, Dan Griffiths, welcomed Evans to the Ospreys, highlighting the fresh challenge that lies ahead for the player:
“The first impression about Gareth was how positive he was about becoming an Osprey, the opportunity, and how excited he was about that challenge.
“Adding a ball carrier to complement what we already have was a priority, and Gareth will certainly provide that. The back row is an extremely competitive part of the squad and we are bringing in a player who has played amongst quality company at Gloucester, international players, and consistently delivered performances. We are delighted at bring Gareth to the club.
“Having been at Gloucester a long time, he felt he needed a change and a new challenge that will enable him to continue growing as a person and a player. It’s fantastic for us that he sees the Ospreys as the place to do that.”
In addition to Evans and Anscombe, current Scotland U20 and former Worcester Warriors Head Coach, Carl Hogg, will be another new face at Llandarcy this summer, confirmed as Forwards Coach, while 10 members of the senior squad have re-signed for next season along with first contracts for highly rated teenagers Harri Morgan and Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler.