Lure of France swayed Michalak return
August 15, 2012
Frederic Michalak will turn out for Toulon next term © Getty Images
Toulon new boy Frederic Michalak has admitted that the prospect of turning out for Les Bleus persuaded him to return to France after a spell with the Sharks in Super Rugby.
Michalak turned out for the Sharks in South Africa for the past two seasons but upon return to the Top 14 Orange, Michalak is keen to add to his 56 caps for Les Bleus. He played for the side during their tour to Argentina but ahead of the November Tests, Michalak is keen to tie down his spot in the international scene.
Talking about his return to France, Michalak said: "I could have stayed with the Sharks but to play for France, which remains one of my objectives, it's important to play in France, if only for the calendar.
"Mourad Boudjellal contacted me quite early last season. With Bernard Laporte they believed in my abilities. I want to thank them because at that time not many clubs would have gambled on me."
Michalak has played in both half-back spots for France and has also played at fullback for the Sharks. His new boss at Toulon Bernard Laporte is keen on playing Michalak at fly-half where he will vie with Jonny Wilkinson.
"I think he is better suited to playing at fly-half," Laporte added. "Even though I'm sure he would play at scrum-half if the club needed him to. At the moment we have Sebastien Tillous-Borde and Nicolas Durand at scrum-half and Jonny Wilkinson and Frederic Michalak at fly-half.
"We're really proud that he is joining the squad at Toulon. We will need him, we are involved in two high-level competitions, the Top 14 and the Heineken Cup. To succeed in both, you need at least 30 players at the same level. Clermont and Toulouse have shown it over the last few years. Frederic's arrival follows that logic, of having two top quality fly-halves."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Jim Mallinder and Justin Burnell were sat on the same top table, but in different circumstances. Tom Hamilton reports on the Aviva Premiership season launch
Tom Hamilton reports back from the launch of the Guinness PRO12 where there is a renewed sense of optimism with all of the off-field changes to the league
So much for the great Australian revival, writes Greg Growden. It now has the potential of going off the rails after the capitulation at Eden Park
The latest Week in Pictures takes in photographs from the Rugby Championship, the Top 14 and the southern hemisphere domestic scene