England: Harlequins refuse to release Nick Evans for Rugby World Cup – report

Colin Newboult

England attack coach Nick Evans during a training session at Pennyhill Park in Bagshot, Surrey. Picture date: Monday February 20, 2023.

Harlequins will not release coach Nick Evans for the upcoming Rugby World Cup in France, according to reports in the English media.

Red Rose boss Steve Borthwick had wanted the New Zealander in place for the global tournament, which takes place later this year.

Felix Jones appointment

The Telegraph have reported that Quins would not stand in Evans’ way should he be offered a permanent role, but the appointment of Felix Jones from the South African set up post-World Cup has seemingly put pay to that.

With Leicester Tigers’ current interim head honcho – and former scrum-half – Richard Wigglesworth set to take up an as yet unspecified position when the Premiership season finishes in May, there are not many places – if any – left in Borthwick’s backroom team ahead of the 2024 Six Nations.

Wigglesworth was in charge of Leicester’s backline, which he combined with playing, before he took up his current role at the Tigers following Borthwick’s departure.

Evans was England’s attack coach for the recent Six Nations, with Quins allowing him to split his time between club and country.

However, the Londoners would not be willing to let him go just for the World Cup, where he could be away for up to four months.

Harlequins lost four of their five matches while the former All Black was with the national team, a run of form which has severely dented their play-off aspirations.

Inauspicious start for Borthwick

It is another blow for Borthwick, whose appointment following the sacking of Eddie Jones did not yield the results he would have liked.

They won just two games in the recent tournament – against Italy and Wales – and suffered a record home defeat to France in the penultimate round.

Jones, who is now in charge of the Wallabies, was renowned for having a high turnover in staff during his time as England head coach, but Borthwick has looked to get a settled group together for the next World Cup cycle.

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