Thom Evans – Zimbabwean born Scottish Rugby International

For those who don’t know: Thom Evans is a Scottish international rugby union player, born in Harare, Zimbabwe. He currently plays his club rugby on the wing for Glasgow Warriors in the Magners League. Evans’ brother, Max, currently plays for Scotland and Glasgow Warriors. They are the 20th set of brothers to play together for Scotland.

At the age of nine, Thom was dispatched from his carefree existence in Harare to an English prep school, a gifted sportsman he is also a one-time England Schools sprinter, England Under-16s golfer and and whilst he was born in Zimbabwe and educated in England, his maternal grandfather, Fred Thom, was a Scottish.

At Wellington College his prodigious rugby talent came to the fore and, having played for England at Under 16 and Under 18 level, Evans was expected to sign with the London team Harlequins after he left school in 2004. Instead, he embarked on a gap year that most teenagers can only fantasise about:

Twen2y 4 Se7en
“I was approached by my friend Andy, who’d been setting up a band. There were four of them, but one dropped out and he asked me if I’d be interested in stepping in. It was the biggest decision of my life, but I said yes straight away. I then had to make a very difficult phone call, to tell the rugby coach that I’d decided to join a boyband called Twen2y 4 Se7en and go off on tour. I was deeply surprised by how supportive he was: I’d expected a backlash.”

Scotland Rugby
Despite his love of performing with Twen2y 4 Se7en, being a focus of desire for thousands of teenage girls, his instincts told him not to abandon that ambition to make his mark in rugby, so in 2005 he made his debut with London Wasps, moving on to join Glasgow Warriors in 2006. His star potential was evident from the start and his first cap for Scotland came in June 2008, not many months after his grandfather died. “I got quite emotional, because I knew he would have been overwhelmed to see me run out in a Scotland jersey.

Injury: Thom Evans suffers ‘very serious back injury’
Thom Evans - Moment of impact: Evans is tackled by Wales' Lee Byrne and Shane Williams
Moment of impact: Evans is tackled by Wales' Lee Byrne and Shane Williams. Photo credit: David Davies/PA Wire.

During the game against Wales in Cardiff in this years (2010) Six Nations, Thom, who was playing with his older brother Max alongside him suffered what was announced to be a ‘very serious back injury’.

Evans was playing at outside-centre when he ran into Welsh hooker Gareth Williams carrying the ball.
Although the hit was brutal, Evans half got to his feet again before being tackled both from behind and by Welsh and Lions full-back Lee Byrne.

The Glasgow Warriors wing spent almost a fortnight in a Cardiff hospital and was operated on twice and sparked fears for his long-term health.

He recently spoke for the first time and said he felt like a bullet had ripped through his body: Recovering at home in Glasgow, his spine held in place with screws and a metal cage, he said the injury left him unable to move his legs. He added that the agony of learning Scotland had lost the game because of a stunning late collapse was more excruciating than the physical pain he endured.

“Max has been trying to get me to slow down and not push it too much. I think he is just worried that the sooner I get back, the sooner his place will be in jeopardy.” He stresses that he is joking and that he is yet to decide whether he wants to attempt a comeback. “I’m just trying to get back to fitness slowly and I’m going to make that decision at the end of the season. It’s something that I’ll need to think hard about. At the moment I’m not sure. Max has said he’ll be 100% behind me no matter what decision I end up making.”

Latest Update:
Thom Evans insists he will return to playing next season (2011), as he steps up his recovery from the injury which could have killed him.

He added: “I have been running regularly and feel good. Although I am not up to gym work just now, that will come.
“After that, there will be physical contact training and then more work to get me ready. Others will be relaxing during the pre-season, but I will keep working to get myself right. I don’t want to put pressure on myself by setting a date, but I will be back.

“I don’t expect it will be at the start of the season but I’m hopeful I will be ready to help Glasgow sometime during the campaign.

“I am not even thinking about getting back into the Scotland team, as I just want to make sure I can get myself fit enough to play competitive rugby again.”

I am sure that like many of you, would like to wish him well and we look forward to seeing him in the blue of Scotland again soon.

Read more:
Scotland centre Thom Evans suffers ‘very serious back injury’
Thom Evans Interview with the Sunday Times