Points machine Evans hailed as one of the best attacking 10s in the game
Jarrod Evans has scored more points than any other Welshman in the URC this season and there are few more dangerous players with ball-in-hand in the competition.
Yet the Cardiff Rugby fly-half finds himself out in the cold in international terms. The last of his eight caps came some 18 months ago and he hasn’t featured in recent Wales squads.
His club coach Matt Sherratt, now in his second spell at the Arms Park, admits he’s surprised the 26-year-old hasn’t seen more honours come his way.
“When I left here in 2018, I expected him to kick on. Listen, you’ve got Dan Biggar and Gareth Anscombe, so he’s got a stern challenge there,” he said.
“But I did think he would be around the national squad a little bit more.
“He has had feedback from the Welsh camp on his work-ons and he does work hard. There is a change of coach now with Warren Gatland going back in, so he may get called back into the squad.”
Evans has accumulated 69 points in the BKT URC this season, a tally only surpassed by Chris Smith of the Vodacom Bulls and the DHL Stormers’ Manie Libbok, while he’s also demonstrated his defence-splitting creativity.
Backs coach Sherratt said: “I love working with Jarrod. I think he’s one of the best attacking 10s in the game, not just in Wales, with his work with ball-in-hand on the line.
“If you look at our third try against Brive last week, he shows the ball, he breaks the line, he puts in a left hand pass 25 metres at full pace that Josh Adams doesn’t have to break stride for. There are very players who can do things like that. You can probably think of Finn Russell. That’s high skill and Jarrod has got that in abundance.
“His strengths are his ability to take the line on, his ball movement and his passing game, so it would be foolish for him not to have licence to do that.
“Now in big games in international rugby, you’ve got to manage the field. But if you look at the Munster match at the start of the season, his contestable kicking game was a big part of why we won that.
“Then if you look at how he played out in South Africa recently, against the Sharks and the Bulls in the first half, there was more maturity in his game. He put us into the right areas of the field and his decision-making on whether to run or kick was a lot better.
“I think it’s in his game, he just needs to be given the opportunity to show it more in big matches. He’s certainly matured as a player and a person over the two or three years I was away.”
Evans will be fresh and raring to go against the Dragons at Rodney Parade on Boxing Day, having been rested for Cardiff’s EPCR Challenge Cup tie away to Newcastle on the weekend. They won that Kingston Park encounter 47-10, building on the previous week’s 41-0 triumph at home to Brive.
Director of rugby Dai Young was delighted with a seven-try display which puts his team in a good place heading into back-to-back derbies against the Dragons RFC, Ospreys and Scarlets.
“I couldn’t ask much more of them. We were in control for most of the game and we’re really pleased with the performance,” said Young.
“We did the grunt work first, which was important. Our front five stood up, which is normally the area where everyone chucks stones at us. But they did a great job in giving us a platform and we showed what we can do if we can get some quick ball and penetration. We have got dangerous players that can play some real good rugby and cause teams problems.”
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