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Evans ready for tough final

Harlequins star Nick Evans has predicted "a humdinger" when the Londoners go for Aviva Premiership title glory against Twickenham regulars Leicester.

Evans and company finished top by a point from Leicester after the 22-game regular league season, but Tigers won a memorable contest 43-33 when the teams last met in April.

"Finals are funny things," said New Zealand fly-half Evans, who was this week named players' player of the season. "It could be a tight boring final, but I hope it's not because you have two teams who like to play rugby. Both teams have the mental belief they can win it, so it should be a humdinger."

He went on: "We are under no illusions about the size of the task ahead of us. They (Leicester) have a finals pedigree, and we need to be right on top of our game."

While Quins are Premiership final rookies, Leicester have appeared in the last seven Twickenham domestic showpieces, and they booked another appearance by dethroning champions Saracens a fortnight ago.

Quins will once again look to Evans as their chief tactical controller and dead-eye goalkicker, and his battle opposite Leicester's number 10 could prove crucial.

Tigers are fielding teenager George Ford, whose superb semi-final performance helped account for Saracens, in that pivotal position with experienced England international Toby Flood on the bench.

Flood is battling to overcome an ankle injury that has not only threatened his participation this weekend, but also in England's three-Test South Africa tour next month.

"He (Ford) convinced me in the semi-final. He had an outstanding game," Evans added. "A semi-final is almost harder than a final with all the pressure. He kicked well and he controlled the game well. The big thing for him is that he has experienced players around him. He will be fine."

He added: "They are both great players. I look forward to the challenge. It is a great stage - it is where you test yourself."


From Belfast Telegraph