Evans decides to sue Merle

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The Independent Online
Ricky Evans, the former Wales and Llanelli prop, has decided to sue the French lock-forward Olivier Merle after sustaining severe injuries following a butting incident during a Five Nations' Championship match almost two years ago.

Evans, who has served a writ in the French High Court, is claiming damages for the injuries he received, loss of earnings and medical expenses.

The 36-year-old suffered a double fracture of his leg, ligament damage in his left ankle and a fracture of his nose during the Parc des Princes match in January 1995.

Evans, whose ankle was treated with the insertion of a screw and plate, returned to the game four and a half months later, missing three internationals.

Although he played in the World Cup against New Zealand, the hard South African grounds aggravated the metalwork in his ankle. He required further surgery forcing him to miss the first half of last season and he has been unable to reclaim his international place.

Evans, a firefighter who now plays for Cardigan, said: "I kept quiet in 1995. However, I now realise that but for Mr Merle I would have been the No 1 loose-head prop for Wales in the World Cup.

"After that, when the players in the Welsh team became professional, I lost out. They earned more in the next five games than I received in all my 19 internationals."

Merle was dropped from the French side for the two matches after the incident but remains a member of their current team.

Evans' solicitor, Mark Harvey, said: "French law would say that Mr Evans consented to a reasonable risk of a rugby injury when he played. He did not consent to being butted when he was looking the other way."