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Scotland look to the Evans

Date: Saturday, 14 February Kick-off: 1500 GMT Venue: Stade de France
Coverage: Live on BBC ONE, full commentary on BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio Five Live and the BBC Sport website

Interview: Scotland pair Max and Thom Evans

By Phil Harlow

The Evans brothers will become the 20th set of siblings to play together for Scotland in Saturday's Six Nations encounter against France.

But it is fair to assume the previous 19 could not boast a past life either as a boy-band singer or a golf pro respectively.

Thom, now 23, spent a year playing bass and singing for Twen2y4se7en, touring alongside Peter Andre and McFly as a warm-up act for Westlife in 2004.

He has also been voted the 12th most eligible bachelor in Scotland, and has genuine ambitions of running either at the 2012 Olympics or the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Max, the elder brother at 25, is a fully-qualified PGA teaching professional, having spent two years working at a Portuguese resort complex where his father Brian is the director of golf.

And just for good measure, Brian happens to be a cousin of Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans.

More pertinently this weekend, the Evans boys provide the pace, flair and try-scoring quality badly lacking in the Scotland backline in recent years.

Neither started their Six Nations opener against Wales last weekend, a controversial selection that saw coach Frank Hadden lambasted in some quarters for his conservatism.

But both Glasgow Warriors are in the starting XV for Saturday's clash in Paris, where Scotland will attempt to win for the first time in a decade.

Max came off the bench for his second cap against Wales last week and scored a superb try, beating Shane Williams and Lee Bryne on his way to the line in a thrilling individual burst.

Max Evans scores against Wales
Max Evans marked his Six Nations debut with a fine solo try
"Max did exactly what you'd want from somebody to make an impact in the late stages of a game, " said Hadden.

"He thoroughly deserves the opportunity to start this week."

Thom, who has three caps, is joint top-scorer in the Magners League this season and scored a hat-trick of tries in a Heineken Cup pool match at Bath.

"Thom can feel a bit disappointed that he was left out last week but that was partly because of the way we wanted to play against Wales," Hadden explained.

"He's got a chance to play alongside his brother and we think that's going to be a very important combination."

With former fly-half Gregor Townsend - one of the most skilful and visionary players Scotland have ever had - part of Hadden's team as backs coach, the stage could be set for Scotland to add a new dimension to their game.

Townsend had a field day when the Scots last won in Paris, completing his record of scoring in every match of the 1999 Five Nations with a try in a famous 36-22 victory.

Another member of that victorious team, hooker Gordon Bulloch - who also played in the same Scotland side as his brother Alan, in 2001 - believes the latest Scottish siblings can make a splash.

"They are exceptional talents," said the former Scotland captain. "They both have out-and-out pace which is something we haven't had for a while and I think you need that in the modern game.

"They have a real physicality and are very competitive guys. I think they can really make an impression in their first Six Nations."

The brothers, who qualify for Scotland through their grandfather, already know what it's like to win in France, playing key roles in Glasgow's stunning 33-26 win over the mighty Toulouse in this season's Heineken Cup.

Certainly nerves should not be a problem for Thom at the Stade de France, having spent many a night performing in front of thousands of enthusiastic fans in his former life.

"I had a great time in the band, singing in front of screaming girls, but I thought it would only last for a year," Thom, a former team-mate of Danny Cipriani and James Haskell in the Wasps academy, told BBC Scotland.

"It did, but I kept fit and healthy and when I came back to rugby I didn't feel like I'd lost much.

"I was at Wasps for two years and then I made one of the best decisions of my career to come to Glasgow."

England: Delon & Steffon Armitage
France: Marc and Thomas Lievremont
Ireland: Richard, Paul and David Wallace; Rory and Simon Best
Italy: Mauro and Mirco Bergamasco
Scotland: Rory and Sean Lamont
Wales: Scott and Craig Quinnell
With a best time of 10.8 seconds for the 100m and an athletics background, he also harbours hopes of sprinting at either the 2012 Olympics in London or the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

"That's definitely an option, depending on whether I get any serious rugby injuries," he said last year.

Max can also be expected to quickly get into the swing of the Paris encounter.

Their father Brian was a former golf pro who played in the Open, and Max has certainly inherited his father's talent.

Playing off scratch, he worked as a pro in Portugal from 2004 to 2006 while he recovered from a back injury playing rugby in the Harlequins academy, before deciding to return to the sport.

"I took a bit of time out and I'm lucky that I was always brought up with golf and I was able to get my PGA golf qualification," he told BBC Scotland.

"But rugby has always been where my heart is and it's not something I can do later on like I could do with golf. I wanted to give it a real go."

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see also
Six Nations guide 2009 - Scotland
28 Jan 09 |  Rugby Union
Scotland call for Evans brothers
11 Feb 09 |  Scottish
Hadden stunned by sluggish Scots
08 Feb 09 |  Scottish
Scotland 13-26 Wales
08 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Toulouse 26-33 Glasgow
17 Jan 09 |  Rugby Union
Scotland call for rookie Jackson
20 Jan 09 |  Scottish
Townsend is new Scots backs coach
09 Jan 09 |  Scottish
Warriors sign Evans from Wasps
03 May 06 |  Scottish

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