Evans concerned for rugby’s future

Date published: January 15 2017

Harlequins and former All Blacks fly-half Nick Evans believes rugby is going down “a very dangerous route”.

The veteran number ten has been based in England since the 2007 Rugby World Cup and admits that the introduction of new tackling directives this month has thrown players off their game as they try and adjust to the modified laws.

“It is going down a very dangerous route,” Evans told Newstalk ZB.

“Players are confused and they don’t like it. We understand it’s for player welfare but I don’t want it to ruin our game.”

High-profile red cards have dominated matches in Europe since the switch was made on January 3, with Frans Steyn the latest player to see red in Montpellier’s defeat to Leinster on Friday.

Rather than players acting recklessly, Evans suggested that many of the incidents were related to confusion over the new directives.

“A lot of players are holding their hands up and saying ‘I don’t understand what’s going on’,” he said.

“You’ve got referees saying ‘we are just applying the rules and we’ve been told we have to do this’. From a player’s point of view, it’s just not clear.

“I’m not blaming the referees. I can see the difficult position they’ve been put in. They’ve been given the directives by World Rugby and they’re sticking to them.”