Evans knows Bloodgate still lingers

Bournemouth Echo: Nick Evans Nick Evans

Nick Evans readily accepts that the "tattoo" of Bloodgate will remain with Harlequins, but Quins' first Aviva Premiership title is certain to make it fade a little further.

Three years after the London club - in Evans' words - "basically imploded," they were crowned English champions to continue an impressive revival led by rugby director Conor O'Shea.

"As far as we are concerned, it's gone," said fly-half Evans, whose 20-point haul helped Quins overcome Leicester to land the Premiership trophy. "It was a tough time, and the club basically imploded, but the consistent thing was that no-one jumped ship. The core of the group stayed the same, which was the most important thing, and Conor has then regalvanised us."

He added: "It is a tattoo that will always be there, but as far we are concerned it is gone."

New Zealander Evans was the player then Quins boss Dean Richards wanted to put back on the field in an attempt to win a Heineken Cup quarter-final against Leinster.

Evans, Quins' goalkicker and consistent match-winner, had earlier gone off injured, but Richards orchestrated the biting of a fake blood capsule by wing Tom Williams which sparked an unprecedented chain of events.

It ended with Richards receiving a three-year worldwide coaching ban, Williams serving a four-month suspension, Quins being fined £260,000 and the club's reputation being reduced to ruins.

Williams scored Quins' opening try of Saturday's final, and victory was a deserved reward given the club's Premiership dominance this season, accompanied by their refreshing emphasis on attacking rugby.

"I am absolutely delighted for everyone involved," Evans added. "Winning the Amlin Cup final last season was a springboard for us in terms of finals, but we will now go into a different phase for the club next season."

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