Evans revels in Grand Slam glory
Wales lock Ian Evans says winning the RBS 6 Nations Grand Slam is "a massive bonus" after finally resurrecting his international career after a three-year absence.
The 27-year-old Ospreys forward is now a two-time Slam winner having also featured in the 2008 success under head coach Warren Gatland. But he barely appeared for the national side between that clean sweep and this season's competition after he suffered a serious knee injury against the All Blacks in 2008.
He said: "It was a massive goal just to get back and play rugby and to pull on that red jersey again. I have achieved that and to have this now is a massive bonus."
His return coincided with injury to World Cup lock Luke Charteris and Evans, first capped in 2006, made the most of his opportunity by turning in a string of authoritative displays, playing in every minute of the tournament and keeping the returning Charteris out of the starting XV.
"I was so happy to come through my injuries and prove some of the critics wrong," he continued.
"Once I played and got some continuity in my game I knew I would be able to progress and get back to it, and it was all about remaining positive during the tough times.
"I had to try to keep myself focused. I had a few hiccups when I was coming back but I had to keep pushing."
Saturday's 16-9 win over France was Evans' ninth win from nine Six Nations games, but the former Swansea man laughed off suggestions that he is a lucky charm for his country.
"I don't know about those stats but it's nice to be involved in two Slams and play every minute of the five games in this one," he said. "It's one I am happy with but I think it will take a couple of months to sink in.
"I have been fortunate, and it's amazing to see what it means to the people of Wales."