Former All Black Nick Evans says that winning the English Premiership title last season has vindicated his decision to leave New Zealand and play Northern Hemisphere Rugby.
The 31-year-old fly-half left New Zealand in 2008, having made the last of his 16 appearances in the Rugby World Cup quarter-final defeat by France in Cardiff a year earlier, and joined London side Harlequins.
Evans watched on as the All Blacks won only their second World Cup title last year but made up for it by leading Harlequins to a first English crown in their 146-year history.
"Last season was probably the pinnacle of my club career, " said Evans who was watching his Quins team-mates competing in the opening round of the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby 7s Series at their Stoop home ground.
"I had played in a lot of finals back in New Zealand but never won them, so to be part of a Quins side winning their first Premiership after 146 years is something that will live with us forever.
"It was a fantastic season and a lot of hard work went into winning it, " Evans added.
"We made the most of our opportunities and were able to close it out. Last year we won the European Challenge Cup and that was massive because I always said that I wanted to come over and win trophies and to win that one was a stepping stone for me.
"To win the Premiership is the hard one. That's the marathon slog that we do all throughout the year and to get it right at the end was amazing.
"And for me, it was vindication that I had made the right choice to come over here. I wouldn't have viewed it as a mistake coming over here and not ever winning it.
"I would have thought of it as a missed opportunity because we hadn't won it.
"I will never regret coming over here now, especially with what we have done. I think I did derive more satisfaction from winning the Premiership than anyone else. "
Evans added it was only when he returned to New Zealand that the Premiership success, earned with a 30-23 playoff final win over Leicester, really hit home.
And he explained the attitude he learned growing up in New Zealand, played a major part in Quins' success last term.
"It was hard to put it into perspective straight away because a lot of people went away with England (to the World Cup).
"It wasn't until I got back home in New Zealand that I saw how proud people there were. Quins are well-supported out there and to go home and get all the congratulations was fantastic.
"What first attracted me to the club was the style of play which suited me, but also being in a position to influence these young guys coming through, " the goalkicking playmaker added.
"That was a big attraction being able to help them, " Evans explained.
"What we learn in New Zealand, the values of the game and how to train and approach games -- maybe that has rubbed off. "