The story of what happened next to the man who almost came from nowhere to be named Wales coach
Former Welsh coaching candidate has embarked on a new sporting venture
For a few short days in the spring of 2004, it seemed as though Mark Evans might just end up as Wales coach.
It had come down to an apparent two-horse race between him and Llanelli’s Gareth Jenkins to succeed the departing Steve Hansen at the helm.
The word was that the eloquent Evans had impressed the WRU top brass during his interview, with Union insiders describing him as an “outstanding” candidate.
It seemed there was a very real chance that the people’s choice, Jenkins, might miss out.
And indeed he did. But it wasn’t Cardiff-raised Harlequins boss Evans who got the job, with Mike Ruddock coming up on the rails to shock the nation.
The rest, as they say is history, with Ruddock going on to guide Wales to their first Grand Slam in 27 years only to leave the job less than 12 months later.
Jenkins was appointed at the second time of asking in 2006, but his time at the helm proved an unhappy one which lasted less than 18 months.
And what about Evans? Well, the former Saracens director of rugby continued as Quins chief executive until 2011, leaving to set up a sports consultancy business.
A two-year spell as chief executive of Australian Rugby League team Melbourne Storm was to follow, while he is currently the director of Capacity Consulting, which he founded, and project leader of Stadium for Cornwall.
But he now also has a new role in sports administration - not in rugby though.
The 57-year-old has just been installed as the independent chairman of the Vitality Netball Superleague.
Talking about his role, he said: “This is a wonderful time to be getting involved with netball and the VNSL.
“It is already a strong competition but I believe it can grow significantly in the next few years. “Women’s sport in general and netball in particular are undergoing a transformation in this country and I look forward to both the opportunities and challenges this presents to the league.”
It’s the latest chapter in a varied career for the proud Welshman.
While he was born in Essex, he moved to Cardiff as a baby, going on to attend St Peter’s junior school and Lady Mary High School, before heading off to Christ College, Brecon.
He would stand on the north enclosure at the Arms Park watching Wales in the great days of the 1970s and on the Grange End at Ninian Park, where he saw Cardiff City famously beat Real Madrid in 1971.
After attending St John’s College, Cambridge, he moved to London, spending two decades with Saracens, as amateur player, prototype professional coach and then director of rugby, giving up his position as deputy head at a comprehensive school.
Then came Harlequins, where he served as both coach and chief executive, and that bid for the Wales job.
Reflecting on that episode some years ago, he told me: “As far as I was concerned, it was a pretty straightforward process really.
“I applied, I wanted the job, I thought I was a creditable candidate and I got close.
“I’ve got no regrets. I gave it my best shot, the WRU made a decision in good faith and I was fine with that.
“It’s like when you’re a player, you get picked or you don’t get picked and that’s just the way it is. You’ve got to move on.”
And once again, Evans has now moved on to another new challenge.