WE chart the rise of the Evans twins, marking their milestone with Warrington Wolves at the weekend.
Ben’s first start in primrose and blue on a day when Rhys continued as the team’s top try scorer with his ninth touchdown of the year meant the brothers were on the pitch at kick-off time at senior club level for the first time.
It marks a stunning seven year journey the 21-year-olds have shared together in pursuit of their dream of playing professional rugby league at the highest level with Warrington.
They packed their bags and left South Wales with mum Jane in 2007 in the bid to achieve their goals.
Evans twins timeline:
• Aged 7 to 9 (1999 to 2001), they were enrolled with Cardiff City Academy, Ben as a goalkeeper, Rhys as centre half but their passion switched to rugby through school
• Former Bridgend, Warrington, Wales and Great Britain scrum half Kevin Ellis visited Brynteg Comprehensive School in Bridgend to coach rugby league to its pupils and entered the team into the national Champion Schools’ tournament.
• Rhys scored a hat-trick and Ben was man of the match as Brynteg won the Champion Schools Final which was played as the curtain-raiser to the Challenge Cup Final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff in 2005.
• Warrington scouts Peter Farrell (father of Andrew) and Brian Chambers watched the twins play for Wales under 13s and invited them for a trial.
• After a period of monthly training sessions, at the age of 13 they decided they wanted to move to Warrington to pursue a career in professional rugby league and their mother, Jane, backed their decision.
• The move went ahead aged 14, with Ben and Rhys joining Wolves’ scholarship scheme, Great Sankey High School and Burtonwood Bulldogs Amateur Rugby League Club.
• In 2007, they represented Warrington Service Area Under 14s and won the Warrington Schools’ Year 9 Cup Final with Great Sankey. (LOOK BACK) (LOOK BACK)
• Rhys, a three-try hero and man of the match at centre, along with Ben being a scorer at loose forward, won the North West Counties Year 10 Schools Cup with Great Sankey in 2008. (LOOK BACK)
• Also in 2008, they made their England debut at under 15s level against Wales in accordance with residency rules at that age group. (LOOK BACK)
• They appeared for Great Sankey in the Year 10 Champion Schools’ semi-fiinal win over their former school Brynteg Comprehensive to reach the final at RAF Uxbridge in London. Ben scored in the defeat to Wakefield’s Airedale School. (LOOK BACK)
• Aged 16 in January 2009, they signed Academy contracts with Wolves as well as Rugby Football League registration forms. (LOOK BACK)
• They helped Great Sankey win the Champion Schools’ Year 11 North West Final in 2009, with Rhys scoring a hat-trick in a 46-4 defeat of Wade Deacon. They went on to reach the national final with Great Sankey for a second time, again finishing runners-up. (LOOK BACK)
• The twins won the Warrington Gas Services Under 16s Cup with Burtonwood Bulldogs in 2009, with Rhys again crossing for a hat-trick. (LOOK BACK)
• They made their Warrington Wolves Academy under 18s debuts in 2009.
• Both represented Wales under 16s against England under 15s in 2009, with Rhys scoring an 80-metre try while skipper Ben was man of the match. (LOOK BACK)
• At the age of 16, both were named in the senior Wales train-on squad preparing for the European Cup campaign at the back end of 2009. (LOOK BACK)
• Debuts came in the under 20s Academy Championship in 2010.
• They were members of a young Warrington team that won the All Golds Cup at the Cheltenham Rugby Festival, with Rhys named as player of the tournament. (LOOK BACK)
• In June 2010, they were among six Academy players promoted to Wolves’ first-team squad on a full-time basis. (LOOK BACK)
• Both featured heavily in the Wolves under 20s squad that finished top of the Valvoline Cup league table in 2010.
• Rhys made his senior debut off the bench against Harlequins at the Stoop on September 3, 2010 – the weekend after Wolves’ historic back-to-back Challenge Cup Final success over Leeds Rhinos at Wembley. (LOOK BACK)
• Ben and Rhys joined Wolves' Gareth O'Brien and James Laithwaite in the England Academy squad that celebrated a series success over the Australia Schoolboys (LOOK BACK)
• A full Super League debut followed for Rhys against Leeds Rhinos at The Halliwell Jones Stadium on March 5, 2011. He was the man of the match. The same month, Rhys was awarded a new five-year contract. (LOOK BACK)
• A month later Rhys signed dual registration forms to appear for Leigh Centurions in the Championship. (LOOK BACK)
• Ben was in the Wolves squad that won the Rugby League 9s at Headingley on July 5, 2011. On the same night, Rhys was third in the Fastest Man sprint. (LOOK BACK)
• Both helped Wolves under 20s finish second in the Valvoline Cup league table, with Ben playing in the Grand Final that was lost to Wigan. (LOOK BACK)
• In March 2012, Rhys was named in the England Knights squad – the tier below the senior international team.
• Ben and Rhys helped Warrington under 20s reach the Valvoline Cup Grand Final for a second successive year, this time finishing as winners against Leeds on September 29, 2012. Rhys was man of the match. (LOOK BACK)
• Rhys was in the England Knights team that won the Alitalia European Cup in October 2012, scoring two tries against Scotland. (LOOK BACK)
• Ben represented the senior Wales national team in the Autumn International Series clashes with France and England in October/November, 2012.
• In late 2012, it was announced that Ben would be joining Bradford Bulls on a season-long loan in 2013. (LOOK BACK)
• Injury prior to the season’s start saw Ben miss the opening few months of the 2013 Super League season with Bradford Bulls. A piece of bone was removed from the top of his femur and he also had a tear to his hip cartilage repaired.
• Ben scored one try in 17 appearances for Bradford Bulls in 2013, after making his senior debut at Rochdale in the Challenge Cup fourth round on April 21 and his Super League debut ironically against Warrington a week later.
• Both represented Wales in Rugby League World Cup 2013. (LOOK BACK)
• Ben made his Wolves Super League debut off the bench in the 38-8 home loss to St Helens on February 13, 2014.
• A 44-16 win at London Broncos on March 9, 2014, marked Rhys scoring four tries on his season’s debut appearance. It was the first time the twins had played together in Wolves’ first team. (LOOK BACK)
• On April 27, 2014, both started a Wolves first-team game for the first time – Rhys on the wing and Ben at loose forward in the Challenge Cup fifth round clash with Doncaster (LOOK BACK)
Current Wolves playing record:
Ben: Played 10 (1 start, 9 sub). Tries: 1
Rhys: Played 30 (26 start, 4 sub). Tries: 18