Harlequins making contingency plans in case Nick Evans secures England role on permanent basis

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Harlequins are making contingency plans in case Nick Evans’ short-term stint with England turns into a permanent switch.

Attack coach Evans will link up with England for the Six Nations amid new head coach Steve Borthwick’s backroom staff overhaul.

Both England and Harlequins have been adamant that Evans’ switch will only last the duration of the Six Nations, that starts with Scotland’s visit to Twickenham on February 4.

But head coach Tabai Matson admitted Harlequins could not rule out the chance of Evans impressing sufficiently to the point where England press the case for a full-time Test switch.

Asked if Evans could end up with England permanently, Matson replied: “There’s always a possibility isn’t there. But in my mind, we will see him and he’ll help us finish the season very strongly.

“In the meantime it’s just making sure we can service the team really well while he’s away.

“He’s a cornerstone of the environment, because of the nature of our team and the importance of his role.

“As you’ve seen we’re not scoring many tries and there’s bits and pieces of the puzzle to get through January and a bit of February. We’re filling a big hole.

“We’ve got a really great young assistant in Charlie Mulchrone who will step into the breach during the Six Nations while Nick’s away, and I’ll oversee that too.”

Evans’ addition to England’s backroom staff is likely to lead to Martin Gleeson’s exit, though the RFU has yet to confirm the future of Eddie Jones’ attack coach.

Jones was sacked in December after England’s 2022 became the Test side’s worst set of calendar-year results since 2008.

Borthwick and right-hand man Kevin Sinfield left Leicester to take the top roles with England, with Evans quickly also slotted in too.

“We’re really excited for Nick, when we’re going well he’s the mastermind behind it,” said Matson.

“And you always love when people get promoted to higher honours, and he’s been spoken about for a while now.

“So, fantastic he gets an opportunity, it’s a short-term gig and in the way the Six Nations fallow weeks and how our games go, he’s going to spend a little bit of time here at The Stoop keeping an eye on us.

“But we want to make sure we don’t burden him too much because he’ll have a really important job.

“It is bittersweet for us isn’t it? But ultimately that’s what you want.

“Because if you don’t have people promoted in your staff, whether that’s backroom staff or coaching staff, to higher honours, then they’re probably not good enough to win you stuff.

“And the same with players, if we don’t have people pushing for England, then we’re probably not good enough to win anything.

“So you’ve got to take the good with the bad, and we’re really proud for him.”

Harlequins lost out 24-16 to Sale at The Stoop for their third-straight Gallagher Premiership defeat.

The Twickenham men mustered scores through Joe Marchant and Nick David, but Sale powered in four scores and were by far the more accurate in testing, rain-soaked conditions.

Tom Curry suffered a hamstring problem for Sale, leaving England sweating on his chances of making the Six Nations kick-off.

“Even if hamstrings are the lowest grade they are generally two to three weeks,” said Sale rugby director Alex Sanderson.

“The conversation I had with him was ‘get your head on for the Six Nations but don’t stop being a leader for us.

“He will get a scan, he was walking around but it has stiffened up, but fingers crossed he will be okay.”