MY DEBUT: Georgia Evans
Georgia Evans is eying up a World Cup debut in New Zealand this month with Wales. She is the first to admit that had it not been for the faith shown in her by Saracens Women’s head coach Alex Austerberry, and many others at the club, she wouldn’t have made it to the tournament.
She is one of three Saracens in the Welsh squad, joining eight more in the Red Roses line-up, three with Scotland and two each with Canada and the USA. When she gets her shot against Scotland, Australia or New Zealand she will cast her mind back to her first game in a black shirt.
Evans made her Saracens debut in October 2020, in a victory over Worcester Warriors. So, what was it like to make you debut Georgia?
“I had never been so nervous in my life as I was running out at Allianz Park for my first competitive game in a Saracens shirt. Alex Austerberry had invited me to join the club from Pontyclun Falcons and this was a massive step up in class. I’d been pretty nervous when I had made my Wales debut, but this was something else. I was given a start in the back row at No 6, which was pretty spectacular for me when you look back at the back row talent Alex had at his disposal.
I was suddenly playing for the Premier 15s champions, and I felt I had such a job to do. I just wanted to keep up with the other girls. It was all pretty nerve racking. Alex had said he had seen glimmers in me and said I had some talent to develop. All I wanted to do was prove to him there was lots to work on. Even now I still feel I have so much more to learn and improve on, but on that day, I just wanted to show him that his belief and investment in me was going to be worth it.
It was the opening game of the season and after all the hard work we had done in pre-season I really wanted to stamp my name on that shirt. I was playing alongside all those English girls who had won so much in their careers – championships and World Cups – and I wanted to show I was able to compete against the best. It is a game I will never forget, and we won it with a bonus-point. What a feeling!
Things have just got better and better for me at the club since then and it is because of the backing everyone has given me at Saracens that I managed to make the Wales World Cup squad. Now I have another big debut to look forward to in New Zealand. I wouldn’t have made it this far had it not been for the incredible support given to me by Alex, the medical team at the club and all the physios and other coaches. When I broke my arm at Bristol earlier in the year, I thought my World Cup dreams were over. I missed the Six Nations, but everyone worked so hard with me that I got back in time to play for the Premier15s final. Getting picked for the final was simply fantastic, a real honour after more than 12 weeks out. Being picked for that game made me feel so valued. Without a doubt, it is Saracens who brought me to the brink of my World Cup debut.”