League 1 move confirmed for veteran Wales international with appearances at last three World Cups

Ben Olawumi
Ben Evans

Ben Evans in action for Wales at the 2021 Rugby League World Cup - Alamy

Veteran Wales international Ben Evans has linked up with League 1 outfit North Wales Crusaders ahead of 2024 following his departure from Barrow Raiders.

Cumbrian Championship outfit Barrow confirmed his exit last month, granting the 31-year-old an early release from his contract as he took up “a dream job away from rugby closer to home.”

Bridgend-born Evans – who has featured on the international stage for Wales in the last three World Cups – made 22 appearances for the Raiders this year, helping them to survival in the second tier.

The forward’s only previous appearance in League 1 came on loan for Rochdale Hornets against Hunslet in March 2016, and eight years on, he will be a permanent feature for Crusaders come 2024.

League 1 move confirmed for veteran Wales international Ben Evans who joins North Wales Crusaders

Evans – like twin brother Rhys – began his career with Warrington Wolves, making 22 appearances during his time at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in-between loan spells at Bradford Bulls, Leigh – then Centurions – and the already-mentioned Rochdale.

Departing Warrington on a permanent basis ahead of the 2017 season, he moved to the capital and linked up with London Broncos. Winning promotion the following year with a shock win in the Million Pound Game away against Toronto Wolfpack, the veteran would be let go, and instead of returning to the top flight, made the move to Toulouse Olympique.

Just 23 appearances in total for the French side followed before the COVID-19 Pandemic cut short the 2020 season, and he moved back over to England, re-joining Bradford on a permanent basis.

In the two years which followed, Evans – who has 12 caps for Wales having debuted back in 2012 against France – would score five tries in 37 appearances, going on to link up with Barrow ahead of 2023.

Speaking to the Crusaders’ website having put pen to paper on his deal for 2024, the powerhouse expressed how proud he was to be pulling on the shirt of a Welsh club, headed up by a familiar face in player-manager Carl Forster.

He said: “I’m really excited to be able to take the opportunity of becoming a Crusader for 2024. I know Carl really well from playing together, and I’m looking forward to playing with him again.

“Being born in Wales to now signing for a Welsh team feels like it’s come full circle for me, and I’m looking forward to bringing that pride to Crusaders.”

Boss Forster meanwhile added: “Ben is a real statement signing for us. As soon as I learnt of his availability, I got in touch with Ben and spoke to him about the club.

“He’s come in with a real desire to do well, and his leadership qualities and experience is something our younger lads can lean on and learn from him. Being a Welsh international and having him at our club is a real step in the right direction.”

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