Had it not been for injury problems, Frédéric Michalak could have been one of the most successful players originating from French rugby. His early Toulouse days were superb and he quickly established himself as one of the most dangerous fly-halves in the game. However, a move to the Sharks seemed to halt his career, with Michalak experiencing several injury problems that meant that he would struggle for games. Still, there is no doubt that Michalak is one of the more successful French players of his era and still has several trophies and accolades to his name.
Starting with his domestic successes, few people realise that Michalak was part of hugely successful Toulouse side in his early days in France. He helped the team win the French championship in only his second season in professional rugby in 2001, while he then proceeded to play a massive part in the 2003 and 2005 Heineken Cup successes. Moreover, while he did not play a large number of games for the Sharks, he still received a medal for his part in their Currie Cup victory in 2008.
Internationally, Michalak also has achievements to boast about. Over the course of his fifty plus caps for France, Michalak has been part of two Six Nations victories after the nation triumphed in 2004 and 2006. Even though the French have never won the World Cup during Michalak’s time with them, he has still performed well at the tournament individually. For example, in 2003, he was the second-highest points scorer of the competition after scoring 101. It was only Jonny Wilkinson that stopped him taking the golden boot glory.
For most people who don’t live in France, Frédéric Michalak is quite an obscure player. He has a sterling reputation in his home country and certain parts of South Africa, yet other nations will know little about him other than his appearances for the French national team. Bearing this in mind, here is our ‘did you know’ page on the fly-half.
1) Frédéric Michalak was born on 16 October 1982, in Toulouse.
2) Even though he is renowned as being a fly-half, he started his professional career as a scrum-half.
3) Even though he has over fifty international caps to his name, Michalak was incredibly absent from the national team for five years between 2007 and 2012. This was mainly due to various injury problems that hindered his form and consistency considerably.
4) In the 2007 World Cup, Michalak was the second highest points scorer having managed 101 points. Jonny Wilkinson was the player who beat him, scoring 113 points.
5) Michalak’s career has spanned across two clubs. He started his career with Toulouse, only to move to the Sharks. He then returned to Toulouse, only to then again move to the Sharks! Could the pattern continue?
6) Michalak has two Six Nations tournaments to his name, having been part of the France squad that won in 2004 and 2006.
7) He also has several domestic trophies to his name. In 2001 he was part of a Toulouse outfit that won the French Championship, while he has been involved in two Heineken Cup successes.
Considering the fact that Frédéric Michalak has over fifty international caps to his name, it is incredible to see that he has barely played for France through the last five years. In fact, after featuring regularly in the World Cup 2007, Michalak appears to have been completely frozen out of all international affairs – until now at least.
The 29-year-old has made a stunning comeback and shown the French exactly what they have been missing. Despite the nation being huge underdogs against Argentina in June (after all, they hadn’t won in Argentina in almost fifteen years), France managed to thrash the nation in 49-10 style. Suffice to say, Michalak was the key performer, managing to score nineteen of those points.
It would appear as though Michalak could force his way back into the international scene, if he can stay fit. French coach Philippe Saint-Andre said before the game that he had selected the former Toulouse man after his form over the past couple of weeks, stating, “We wanted to see Fred (Michalak) and Maxime (Machenaud) for what they showed over the last fortnight”.
The main reason behind Michalak’s absence has been his lack of consistency for both Toulouse and new side Sharks. When he made the decision to leave Toulouse in 2007, many thought that it was a superb move for his career. However, injuries have troubled him incredibly and several years on, he is only now starting to play regular rugby. The Sharks see him as a key performer in their Superb Rugby campaign and considering the fact that he is still relatively young, hopefully Michalak’s international career is finally starting to turn round.
Having made over fifty appearances for the French national team, many would view Frédéric Michalak as a seasoned international rugby player. Unfortunately, it hasn’t always been the case and while Michalak is seen as a world class fly-half, most of his international credentials arrived in the early part of his career.
Michalak first made his debut for Toulouse in 2000 and it really wasn’t long before he caught the attention of the national team bosses. In fact, it took less than a year, with Michalak making his debut for France in 2001 against South Africa. After impressing in that fixture, Michalak was selected for a successive match and scored his first points as the French overcame Australia.
After constantly impressing in his international outings, it came as no surprise when Michalak became an automatic pick for the French. He featured in several Six Nations tournaments and became a constant point scorer for his country. In fact, in the fifty four games that Michalak has featured in, he has scored an impressive 252 points.
Perhaps the biggest highlight of his French career was the 2003 World Cup, where he finished as the second-highest scorer behind Jonny Wilkinson. He was also a prominent fixture in the World Cup in 2007 although this would prove to be his last major impact on a tournament for several years, with Michalak being frozen out of international duties until 2012. The reason is most likely the 29-year-old’s recent struggles with injuries, which have prevented him playing regular domestic rugby as well.
Frédéric Michalak is one of a few French players who have made a name for themselves in other parts of the world. Having created a successful career for himself in the domestic leagues in France, Michalak has gone on to feature in the renowned Super Rugby tournament. As well as this, he is a consistent international player and has collected numerous accolades throughout his career.
While Michalak did start his career as a scrum half, he soon converted to fly-half and has experienced much more success. He started his career with Toulouse, where he featured in the Heineken Cup and the Top 14. Having appeared in almost 150 fixtures for the French outfit in seven years between 2000 and 2007, Michalak made the decision to quit French rugby and transfer to the Sharks in South Africa. However, despite arriving with a superb reputation, injuries hampered his chances significantly and he was limited to just a handful of appearances in a torrid one year spell. Following on from that, he made the decision to return to Toulouse and while he did find opportunities easier to come by, injuries were still affecting him. He therefore decided to try his chances again in South Africa and signed for the Sharks again in 2011. It would be fair to say that his career is now firmly back on track and he is a key performer for the Super Rugby side.
Even though there have been frustrating times for Michalak domestically, he has always been a key player for France. Having first made his debut in 2001, he has consistently made the national squad and now has over fifty four caps to his name.