Emotional Evans pays tribute to Wales
An emotional Ifan Evans paid tribute to his Welsh colleagues who suffered a heart-breaking 26-19 defeat to defending champions Fiji in the 2013 Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens final.
Evans, who has been a key figure for Wales since making his Sevens debut in Hong Kong in 2009, watched events unfold back home just hours before going in to hospital, where he will undergo career-ending surgery on his neck.
The 29-year-old admitted it was a struggle to hold back the tears when the Welsh players sang the national anthem at the Hong Kong Stadium before their first ever World Series Cup final, with his name ‘IFAN’ written on their wrists.
“That was tough, I didn’t know they were going to do that so it took me by surprise,” said the 29-year-old from Aberystwyth. "I had tears in my eyes – that gesture meant everything to me.”
Evans was on target to become his country's leading try-scorer in Sevens rugby as he closed in on Tal Salley’s record of 60 tries in the World Series. He had narrowed the gap to just two tries and was targeting this weekend’s tournament when disaster struck.
“I was in training a couple of weeks ago with the boys and felt numbness in my feet. I was referred to a specialist and told I would never play rugby again. I’m still coming to terms with that as rugby has played such a huge part in my life," said Evans.
“I’m really gutted I won’t be able to go for the record, but no-one can take the 58 tries away from me. The boys have been brilliant and I was really proud of the way they played before and during the final. The effort they put in was huge and I wish them the best of luck for the rest of the series.”