Vodacom Super Rugby
Michalak to join Rebels?
Melbourne - Mercurial Frenchman Frederic Michalak looms as a potential reinforcement for a Melbourne Rebels outfit licking their wounds from a forgettable Vodacom Super Rugby baptism.
Not only were the competition newcomers outclassed and outmuscled 43-0 by the Waratahs, the Rebels also sustained serious injuries to flyhalf James Hilgendorf (shoulder) and blind-side flank Hoani Macdonald (broken hand).
Hilgendorf will be sidelined for at least six weeks with grade three AC joint damage but Melbourne coach Rod Macqueen fears it may be longer and Sunday admitted he must look at replacement contingencies.
Michalak, a playmaking and goalkicking marvel in 54 Tests for France, appears to be at the top of the queue after he revealed he was interested in linking with an unnamed Australian team.
The 28-year-old, plagued by injuries in the past year, made the comment to the French press just before playing his second match in his comeback for Toulouse, where his contract is about to expire.
Michalak said he wanted to stay with Toulouse but was keen to move to Australia, where Melbourne has extra latitude to sign up to 10 imports, if his Top 14 club failed to make him a new offer.
Macqueen will replace Hilgendorf with marquee English import Danny Cipriani for Friday night's clash with the Brumbies but needs extra depth in the crucial position.
"I would suggest they are things that we have to look at this next week or so," he said.
"We need to get some solid medical advice on where James stands and until we get that and know the enormity of the advice we can't say too much.
"(Michalak) is a good player but that's too early to speculate about."
Cipriani showed some exciting glimpses of his talent on Friday night but after the 20-minute mark the Rebels looked clueless in attack under the suffocating weight of the Waratahs defence.
"Danny is fitting in well with the team and while we were disappointed with the result there were some promising signs," Macqueen said.
"But it's shown us the issues we'll have to address."
The Rebels could also be without powerful league recruit Cooper Vuna at AAMI Park after the inside centre also copped a nasty knock to his shoulder, but will give him until Wednesday to prove his fitness.