Fijian Drua chief: World-renowned Evans succeed Thorburn

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Harlequins Press Conference - Twickenham Stoop - 10/11 - 24/3/11 Harlequins' Chief Executive Mark Evans during the announcement of a new three year sponsorship deal with Etihad Airways Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Peter Cziborra

The Fijian Drua Super Rugby Pacific franchise has a new chief executive officer, effective from October 17.

The Fijian Drua yesterday announced that world-renowned and highly experienced sports leader Mark Evans is the new appointee taking over from Brian Thorburn.

Evans brings 30 years of experience and sports leadership, administration, coaching, and education to the role.

He has previously served as chief executive of the Western Force in Super Rugby, Global Rapid Rugby, Melbourne Storm (NRL), Harlequins FC (English Premiership Rugby) – a club he also coached – and as director of Rugby at Saracens Football Club.

Evans founded and led a successful consultancy firm – Capacity Consulting – delivering several important projects for World Rugby, Rugby Football League (RFL – England), Rugby Football Union (RFU-UK), Premier Rugby, and the NRL in Australia.

Consistent among the many achievements in his various roles has been his ability to turn around finances and revitalise a range of areas including commercial, governance, football operations and high performance.

He was welcomed by Fiji Rugby chairman and Fijian Drua director Commodore Humphrey Tawake yesterday.

“We are delighted to welcome Mark to Fiji to lead the Drua’s onward journey and help Fijian rugby reach even greater heights,” Tawake said.

“The Drua was created to be that crucial link for our athletes between the domestic rugby competition and the Flying Fijians set-up. A strong Super Rugby Pacific franchise is critical for our aspirations of being among the top ranked rugby nations in the world.

“With his hands holding the oars of our Fijian Drua, Mark will guide the Club to do exactly that. Thorburn, meanwhile, returns to Fiji Rugby as its general manager commercial. Evans, in a zoom conference yesterday said he could not resist the Fijian appointment.

“The opportunity to help build upon the impressive start made by the Drua was extremely attractive,” he said.

“Our aim is to put the whole operation on a long term, sustainable, successful path and become real force in the competition and in doing so bring pride and enjoyment to all our supporters.

“I’m overwhelmed and excited to take on this path. This was something I really couldn’t turn down. The Drua project is a wonderful opportunity and I am excited to get start on an enjoyable journey and we’ll make people sit up and take note.”

Evans contract is for three years.

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