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Nerveless Evans seals win


Nick Evans

Nick Evans

Nick Evans

Harlequins hero Nick Evans claimed nerves did not trouble him as he kicked the conversion that saw his team clinch Heineken Cup qualification next season.

The former New Zealand fly-half converted wing Gonzalo Camacho's 76th-minute try at Cardiff City Stadium as Quins stunned French giants Stade Francais 19-18 to lift the Amlin Challenge Cup.

Evans said: "All those times on the training pitch you dream of moments like that one. I was excited to have the kick - I wasn't nervous. That is what we live for as kickers.

"Credit to the whole team. We never gave up, and I think we have shown that throughout the season. We got ourselves out of jail, got the win and got the silverware.

"I enjoy it with Quins, that's why I signed for another couple of years. I heard Sir Alex Ferguson say the other day that winning the first trophy is the toughest with a group of players. Hopefully now, we can push on and create a bit of a dynasty."

Stade looked to have dome enough through four Lionel Beauxis penalties and drop-goals from centre Mathieu Bastareaud and full-back Martin Rodriguez. But Quins conjured a special finish as prop Joe Marler and scrum-half Danny Care completed the hard yards for Camacho to cross and hand Evans his match-winning chance.

Evans earlier kicked four penalties for a 14-point haul, and Stade now need Northampton to win tomorrow's Heineken final against Irish favourites Leinster in the Welsh capital.

If Saints topple the favourites and become England's first European champions since 2007, then Stade will join Quins in Heineken action next term. But a Leinster triumph would leave Stade floundering and send Irish province Connacht through instead.

Quins rugby director Conor O'Shea said: "We didn't play well. We've lost some pretty heartbreaking games this season, but my wife always said to me we would get some luck at the end of the year, and we did. We hung on in there and never gave up.

"Across the pitch, we didn't have the greatest of games, but we kept on playing and trying - that's the motto of the team. It might be Gonzalo's last game for the club, but if it is, what an incredible to way sign off. I thought he was magnificent throughout the game."

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