Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Evans to decide on future next year

Ian Evans, pictured, has a decision to make over his future

Wales lock Ian Evans is likely to make a decision in January about where his rugby future lies.

The Ospreys forward, who toured Australia with the British and Irish Lions this summer and has won 30 Wales caps, is thought to be a target for wealthy Heineken Cup holders Toulon.

It is also understood that current Aviva Premiership leaders Saracens could be in the mix for his services. Evans' current Ospreys contract expires at the end of this season.

The departure of Wales colleague Jonathan Davies to Clermont Auvergne next season was announced last week, while the likes of Jamie Roberts, Dan Lydiate, James Hook and Luke Charteris already play in France.

"There is a lot of speculation," said Evans, who is set to feature for Wales against Tonga on Friday night after overcoming an Achilles injury.

"I will probably make a decision come January time and see where I go then.

"It is important to make the right decision, but when the time comes I would be fairly confident I would have made the right decision.

"There have been offers from England and France. There is a lot on the table, but it is not really a distraction.

"It is a balancing act. There are obviously issues that you've got to consider and decisions you've got to make, but I've got a family on the way and first and foremost that is what I am looking after to be honest."

Asked specifically if he was happy at the Ospreys, Evans added: "I am happy when I am playing."

Evans' partner is due to give birth in little more than a week, although there is also a chance the call could come on match-day.

"I think you would probably see me doing a sharp exit through the tunnel, I think!" he added.

"She has been very understanding, to be fair. She has been fully supportive in everything I wanted to do, but I don't think I've got a say in this one. It's a life-changing experience."

Evans started every game of Wales' 2012 and 2013 RBS 6 Nations title-winning campaigns, but competition for second-row places is fierce, given the presence of players like Charteris, Alun-Wyn Jones and Bradley Davies, while Andrew Coombs has yet to feature this autumn.

"To be fair to Brad, Alun-Wyn and Luke, all three of them have played extremely well," Evans said.

"If I want to play in the last autumn game (against Australia), I am going to have to pull all the stops out. All I can do is have a good game on Friday night (if selected) and put my hand up and put my name in the hat for (Australia) selection.

"I did full training all of last week and I came through that unscathed, so I am feeling pretty confident.

"It has been very frustrating, but I've got a chance for a game of rugby, which is quite strange at the minute, but one I am looking forward to.

"You know what to expect off Pacific Island teams, and especially Tonga. They are very passionate and physical teams, and it will be a physical encounter, no doubt about that.

"I think a few bodies will be a bit sore afterwards, but hopefully we come out on the winning side.

"If we are going to beat Tonga we have got to keep our discipline and not get dragged into a dog-fight. Rugby is a physical game, and they are renowned for their physicality."

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