Olivier Merle

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Olivier Merle (born 14 November 1965 in Chamalières, Puy-de-Dôme) is a former French rugby union footballer. He played as a lock. He was known by several nicknames, including "La Merluche" and "Le Massif Central". He was known for his violent play and after headbutting Ricky Evans the Welsh prop in Paris causing a ruck to collapse on him breaking his ankle, resulted in his being sued successfully in the courts for damages. This was the first case of its kind and BBC video evidence was used in court. After that he never played for France again.

Merle started his career at ASM Clermont Auvergne, moving then to RC Vichy. He also would play for FC Grenoble, returning for ASM Clermont Auvergne at the season of 1995/96, where he would stay until 1999/2000. He then moved to RC Narbonne for two seasons, from 2000/01 to 2001/02. His final season was spent at Stade Aurillacois, in 2002/03.

The French lock had 45 caps for France, scoring 6 tries, 30 points in aggregate, from 1993 to 1997. He was selected for the 1995 Rugby World Cup, playing all the five matches. He played four times at the Five Nations, in 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997, winning it the last time, with a Grand Slam.

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