Rugby

Michalak targets 2015 RWC

2014-04-01 16:00
Frederic Michalak (AFP)

Toulon - Toulon playmaker Frederic Michalak's recent run of impressive form has left the former prodigy of French rugby eyeing an outing for France in the 2015 World Cup.

The 31-year-old has come and gone in the French line-up over the last few years, winning 59 caps, but also opting to spend two spells playing club rugby in South Africa in a bid to hone his skills in a different environment.

The Toulouse-born Michalak was largely ignored by Marc Lievremont and left out of his 2011 World Cup squad, but his fortunes improved under new coach Philippe Saint-Andre despite his inability to nail down a regular start at Toulon where he is in competition with English star Jonny Wilkinson.

Having started at fly-half in Toulon's last two games, Michalak is relishing the upcoming weekend's European Cup quarter-final against Leinster, with a firm eye on making Saint-Andre's squad for next year's Rugby World Cup in England.

"At 31 years of age, I have not got 10 years left in my career," he said.

"My goal is clear: to go to the World Cup. And I don't just want to go there, but to win it."

Michalak said he was enjoying his rugby at the moment, and happy to be staying at Toulon.

"That's important for me," he said. "I'm physically good, I no longer have any injury problems and that allows me to be at 100 percent and play without any hang-ups.

"I'm happy to be in form at this time of the season, in the final stretch. I'm loving it at fly-half and, with my experience, it's a position in which I'm at ease.

"In any case, I'm hungry to win and the desire to win titles with Toulon."

He added: "I'm chuffed to be staying with Toulon, which continues to grow bigger and which has the goal of being at the highest level for a long time.

"I also have ambitions to be in the running for the France team."

Michalak guided Toulon past his old club Toulouse last weekend in the Top 14, the elite French division that is enjoying one of its closest ever seasons.

"It was important to win," Michalak said of the 32-28 victory. "It allows is to stay up high in the standings, but it's also good for confidence ahead of the European Cup quarter-final.

"Not everything was perfect, we must be better when we get the ball out of our own half and also in one-on-ones."

He added: "Leinster is yet another step up. It's always special playing against them. Even if at the moment all the matches are extremely tough, it's a straight knock-out match.

"A European Cup quarter-final is not just anything, even more so at home. We battled to be able to play at our Stade Mayol and it's now up to us to make the most of that and reach the semi-final and go on to defend our title."

Leinster, Michalak added, "are an impressive team, in the image of the Ireland side since there's about 20 players who took part in the Six Nations which they won".

Turning back to the Top 14, arguably one of global rugby's toughest leagues, Michalak said he was not surprised by the fact that, with just three games of the regular season to go, there was still not one team qualified for finals play-off.

"It's the first time I've seen that," he acknowledged. "But it's logical. Each year, teams get better. In my opinion, it's a good thing because it pulls everyone up.

"The seasons are long," Michalak said, adding: "I can tell you that it's tougher today than when I was 20!"

Read more on:    toulon  |  frederic michalak  |  rugby
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