Gareth Evans (rugby union, born August 1991)
|Date of birth||5 August 1991|
|Place of birth||Hastings, New Zealand|
|Height||1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)|
|Weight||105 kg (16 st 7 lb; 231 lb)|
|School||Napier Boys' High School|
|University||University of Otago|
|Notable relative(s)||Bryn Evans (brother)|
|Rugby union career|
Gareth Evans (born 5 August 1991) is a New Zealand rugby union player who currently plays as a loose forward for Hawke's Bay in New Zealand's domestic Mitre 10 Cup and the Hurricanes in the international Super Rugby competition.
Born in the town of Hastings in the north-east of New Zealand to a Zimbabwean mother and a father from Havelock North, Gareth attended school in the nearby town of Napier at Napier Boys' High School where he played first XV rugby alongside future Hawke's Bay teammates Brad Weber and Ihaia West. After graduating high school, he moved south to Dunedin to study environmental management at the University of Otago while also playing for Dunedin in the local club rugby competition.
Aged just 20, Evans broke into the Otago ITM Cup squad during the 2011 ITM Cup and played all 10 games for the Razorbacks to help them to 3rd place on the Championship log, just outside of the playoff places due to the domestic season being shortened to accommodate the 2011 Rugby World Cup. He was again in fine form during 2012, playing all 12 of Otago's games during a campaign which saw them make the Championship final before being thrashed 41-16 by Counties Manukau. 2013 would prove to be his final season with the Razorbacks and it saw him score 3 times in 10 games as the men from Dunedin reached the Championship semi-finals before being defeated 29-24 by Hawke's Bay.
He returned home to play for the Hawke's Bay Magpies from 2014, initially signing a 2-year deal to replace the departing Mike Coman and his first season back in the Bay saw him start 7 games and score 1 try to help the Magpies claim the Ranfurly Shield and reach the ITM Cup Championship final before going down to Manawatu.
After 3 years of solid performances at domestic level for Otago, he earned a Super Rugby contract with the Dunedin-based Highlanders ahead of the 2014 season. Despite strong competition from fellow loose forwards such as Shane Christie, Elliot Dixon, Nasi Manu and John Hardie, Evans acquitted himself well in his debut season of Super Rugby, playing 11 times and scoring 2 tries.
2015 would prove to be a memorable year both for Evans who scored 3 tries in 14 appearances and the Highlanders who won their maiden Super Rugby title, defeating the Hurricanes 21-14 in the final. Evans was named on the bench for the final as a replacement, taking part in the win.
The 2015 and 2016 New Zealand domestic seasons were largely a right off for Evans as injury restricted him to just a solitary appearance over the course of 2 years which saw the Magpies promoted as ITM Cup Championship champions in 2015 before being relegated back to the championship for 2017 after just a sole season in the top division.
Evans had injury troubles for the Highlanders in 2016 as well, and this restricted him to only 1 start and 4 appearances in total during 2016, as the Highlanders surrendered their Super Rugby crown, losing to the Lions in Johannesburg at the semi-final stage. Despite his injury problems over the previous 2 years, new Highlanders head-coach, Tony Brown opted to retain Evans in his squad for his first season in charge in 2017.
The 2017 season proved more successful for Evans, as he started for the Highlanders against the touring British and Irish Lions side on 13 June 2017. Evans played the full 80 minutes against the Lions, with the Highlanders narrowly winning 23-22 in the historic fixture. It was then announced that Evans had signed for the Hurricanes for the 2018 Super Rugby season.
Evans has become a regular starter for the Hurricanes since signing for them, displacing Magpies teammate Hugh Renton from the squad and shifting Captain Brad Shields to blindside flanker. Evans scored his first try for the Hurricanes on 30 March 2018, scoring a 30m solo try against the Rebels as the Hurricanes beat them 50-19. Evans went on to start at openside flanker during the playoffs, with departing team-mate Blade Thomson returning from injury to take Evans' place at number 8. The Hurricanes were knocked out of the competition during the semi-finals, losing to the Crusaders 12-30. Evans finished the season as one of the best-performing players in the Hurricanes. Evans and his team-mate Ben Lam were subsequently praised by media for their performances.
Evans Captained the Magpies multiple times across the 2018 Mitre 10 Cup, alongside former All Black Brad Weber, with the regular Magpies Captain, Ash Dixon, ruled out for the season with injury. As Co-Captains, Evans and Weber lead Hawke's Bay to the playoffs for the first time since 2015.
After a successful 2018 season, All Blacks Head Coach, Steve Hansen, selected Evans for the All Blacks for the first time.  Evans made his international debut for New Zealand during the All Blacks' second test of the 2018 end-of-year rugby union internationals, which was against Japan. Evans replaced the outstanding Patrick Tuipulotu in the 54th minute of the test and performed well, setting up a try for his former Highlanders team-mate Waisake Naholo, with the All Blacks finishing the test by beating Japan 69-31.
Super Rugby statistics
- As of 10 January 2017
- "Gareth Evans Hawke's Bay Magpies Player Profile". HB Magpies Rugby. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
- "Gareth Evans itsrugby.co.uk Player Statistics". itsrugby.co.uk. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
- "Gareth Evans Highlanders Player Profile". Highlanders Rugby. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
- "Highlanders 2017 Squad Guide" (PDF). All Blacks.com. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
- "Rugby: Bay-born Otago loosie's living the dream". Hawke's Bay Today. 17 October 2013. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
- "Gareth Evans signs for Magpies". Schoolground. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
- "Rugby: Highlanders recruit Otago players, re-sign Tanaka". Otago Daily Times. 1 October 2013. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- "Highlanders keeping it local". Rugby 365. 1 October 2013. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- "Gareth Evans to the fore as Hurricanes blow Blues away on Eden Park". Marc Hinton. 11 May 2018. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
- "Rugby: Newly named All Black Gareth Evans thought he was being pranked". NZ Herald. 16 October 2018. Retrieved 16 November 2018.