Michalak has point to prove
Paris - Forgotton France fly-half Frederic Michalak warned he has a point to prove after being recalled in place of the injured Jean-Baptiste Elissalde for Sunday's Six Nations opener against Scotland.
The former prodigal son of French rugby, who has 51 caps to his name since 2001, has been called up just once, in March last year, since coach Marc Lievremont's arrival in October 2007.
And although he will start Sunday on the bench, Michalak has high hopes he can kick-start his international career with an eye to the 2011 World Cup.
"You feel like it's been a long time," conceded the 27-year-old Toulouse player, who lined out with South African side Natal Sharks in 2008.
"They say that work is rewarded but I'm here because there were injuries. I have the same outlook as a young player joining the group and I'm going to try and show they were mistaken about me.
"For the past two years I haven't managed to find the key to show what I could do. We'll see if that happens now."
Michalak refuses however to question Lievremont's decison to sideline him.
"You mustn't bear grudges about not being selected," he conceded.
"The coach is the boss, we're the soldiers, we're there to execute orders and show our qualities. I've never doubted my own qualities," he said.
"I still have things to prove. If I'm lucky enough to play I'll try to bring what I know best to the game - attacking the line, setting up the backs."
He addeed: "Everyone has to forget their own worries, we're there to achieve something as a group.
"I'm going to try to support Francois (Trinh-Duc) and Morgan (Parra) who are starting out. Team spirit is the most important thing."
Michalak admitted he was eager to savour the winning feeling again after lifting the Six Nations trophy three times, including the Grand Slam in 2002 and 2004.
But he knows the opposition will be tough, starting with Scotland.
"Scotland are a difficult team to handle, we saw that in the European Cup.
"We also have to measure ourselves against other nations, to players like (Brian) O'Driscoll or (Ronan) O'Gara. We have to show that against guys like that, even if they have the experience, we can topple them."
And his eyes are already on the 2011 World Cup.
"I've played two (2003, 2007), both times we finished fourth. The World Cup is one of the only titles I haven't won."
Lievremont said he had opted for consistency when naming his team.
"The World Cup is a long way off. But to validate the progress of this French team we need to show consistency in our performances," he explained.
"There is still a lack of consistency in our results, because we still haven't been able to produce a series of three consecutive victories, but also in the quality.
"We're dreaming that it will be France's year for victory in the tournament, if possible the Grand Slam."