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Wayne Evans Named as One of Ten to Watch

1st February 2006

Welsh great and Cardiff Blues backs coach Robert Howley, is tipping young Number 9 Wayne Evans for big things.

After starring for Wales at Under 18 and 19 levels, Wayne broke into the Under 21 side for the Grand Slam campaign of 2005.

The scrum half was not just noticeable for his blond hair; with a good try scoring record and dangerous sniping from the base of the scrum, he was swiftly tipped for a big future.

The upshot was that Evans went to Argentina for the Under 21 World Cup and signed a development contract with Cardiff Blues.

In their latest issue International Rugby News magazine included Wayne in their special feature of Ten to Watch for future.

Evans plays his week-to-week rugby at Pontypridd, where he was placed by Blues’ Academy Manager Justin Burnell.

Blues’ back coach Rob Howley likes what he sees in Evans, who is of a similar stature at 5ft 10ins and 12st 8lbs.

“Wayne’s strengths include a very good pass and he’s one of those scrum halves who like to play a high tempo,” said Howley.

“He gets the ball away comfortably and quickly. He needs to improve his physical attributes but that will come with age and experience.”

Cardiff Blues have two full time scrum halves- Mike Phillips and Ryan Powell who get most of Howley’s attention. Under the Academy system Evans trains on Tuesday and Thursday evenings with Pontypridd and one or two days a week with the regional side, doing his weights for instance with the academy and age group players.

He appeared in the Blues’ pre-season friendly against Pontypridd at Sardis Road and, when Phillips was selected to play for Wales against New Zealand in the Autumn Test, Evans was on the bench for the Celtic League home game against Munster.

He was also in Wales’ squad for the first IRB Sevens of the season in Dubai and South Africa.

“Wayne came on for 15 minutes in the Heineken Cup against Perpignan when Ryan was out injured,” said Howley, “and he did not look like a fish out of water. Pontypridd are nurturing him at the right level in the Welsh Premiership and he’s with us once a week so he knows our policies on defence and attack.

“Too much rugby too soon can hold some people back. Wayne’s a very likeable guy who asks a lot of questions about the position.

“It’s nice to see that enthusiasm and if he keeps at it I expect him to come through strongly for the Blues next season or the one after. The signs he’s shown so far are that the step-up from the Premiership to regional level won’t be a problem for him.”