Botica’s boot mitigates Evans injury blow

HARLEQUINS boss Conor O’Shea is calling for calm after fly-half Nick Evans limped off during Harlequins opening Heineken Cup win over Biarritz, adamant the fly-half will not be sidelined for too long.

The 32-year-old was taken off after just 17 minutes of the European clash at the Stoop on Saturday, which Quins went on to win 40-13 in the absence of the influential New Zealander. Evans had earlier converted Danny Care’s opening try for the Aviva Premiership champions while his replacement Ben Botica, who claimed 18 points, converted scores from Rob Buchanan, Jordan Turner-Hall and Seb Stegmann.

“There’s no break but there’s a little bit of damage. He won’t be available to play against Connacht on Saturday, but it will be weeks rather than months,” said O’Shea.

“And as for Ben, his goal-kicking is pretty special. He ran the game really well and attacked the line. It was the biggest match he’s ever played in, so his performance was a massive plus.”

Saracens also impressed in a 45-0 drubbing of Edinburgh, Charlie Hodgson contributing 25 points as Joel Tomkins, Owen Farrell, Chris Ashton and Alex Goode all also crossed the whitewash.

In the Amlin Challenge Cup London Irish ran in six tries against French outfit Bordeaux-Begles to begin with a 43-16 victory. Wasps also toasted a bonus point after a 38-25 triumph over Newport Gwent Dragons. London Welsh found life in Europe far tougher as they lost 68-19 to Stade Francais.

In yesterday’s action, England outcast Danny Cipriani helped Premiership strugglers Sale to a surprise 34-33 win over Cardiff Blues. Leicester slipped to a 23-9 defeat at Toulouse, while Northampton came back to beat Glasgow 24-15.