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'Big game' delights Quins chief

Evans says Harlequins are on course to sell-out Twickenham

Last updated: 27th December 2008   Subscribe to RSS Feed

'Big game' delights Quins chief

Evans: Thinking big

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Harlequins chief executive Mark Evans wants to sell out Twickenham in 12 months time following the success of Saturday's game against Leicester.

Quins' 26-26 draw with Leicester was watched by 50,000 fans, a restricted capacity which was a record for a regular season Guinness Premiership match.

Next year Evans is targeting a full house of 82,000 as the London club cashes in on its three-year deal with the RFU to hold their Christmas fixture at Twickenham.

"We were capped at 50,000 which meant we sold out a week in advance," he said. "I wonder how many we would have got.

"We didn't have a walk-up and we didn't have last-week sales, which are usually in five figures.

"We have a three-year deal with the RFU. Big Game II will happen, Big Game III will happen and hopefully by then we will establish it as the big London Christmas sporting event.

"Let's hope next year we can have a real go at 'Big Game II' and maybe fill Twickenham. I really think we can.

"It is about an event, about building a fan-base not just about maximising monetary return.

"Rugby is a small sport in this country and we have got to sell it.

"People don't turn up to sports clubs on a whim, it is because they have got a connection.

"If we get 82,000 next year and the profit margin increases, we will just spend it, have more fireworks."

The match saw Quins claim a dramatic draw after being 26-16 behind, and Quins director of rugby Dean Richards said: "This is a side which never gives up, a side with a huge amount of character.

"Teams are finding out that we are a difficult nut to crack. There is a resilience that wasn't there last year or the year before."

Leicester boss Heyneke Meyer predicted Evans would succeed with his tough late kick.

"I have always rated Evans as an unbelievable player. I thought he would get the kick because we didn't deserve to win the game and he is a quality player who is good under pressure," said Meyer.

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