KSA Shark ©

Michalak’s S14 season in doubt

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :Sharks, Super 14 on 27 Apr 2008 at 11:45

A sickening knee injury may have ended France fly-half Frederic Michalak’s Super 14 season and Sharks career.

Sapa reports through the IOL that Michalak lasted just nine minutes of the Sharks’ 25-10 loss to the NSW Waratahs before he hyper-extended his left knee and had to be helped from the field.

Television replays showed Michalak’s knee buckling in the tackle after he chased down a kick. Early indications are that he tore an anterior cruciate ligament.

Sharks coach Dick Muir admitted Michalak, whose contract runs until June, may not play again for the Durban-based team.

“He was going to stick around to play Currie Cup before returning for the French end-of-the-year tour, if he was selected,” Muir told reporters Sunday.

“He’s grown to be one of us and he’s really enjoyed it at the Sharks, and we’ve enjoyed having him and he’s added a lot of value to our squad.

“So it will be very sad to see if it is the end of the road for him.”

Michalak, 25, has played 50 internationals for France, scoring 246 points and was a part of the French team at the 2003 and 2007 World Cups.


  • I know this may be tough to believe, but I believe he should play Pienaar at 10 against the Saders and then let him play there for the rest of the season if Michalak is not fit.

  • Comment 1, posted at 27.04.08 11:48:41 by KSA Shark © (FJ!ELN!) Reply
    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
  • I agree. Either that, or we need to try Barritt or Jacobs at flyhalf

  • Comment 2, posted at 27.04.08 12:18:48 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
  • Don’t fall on your back but my backline would be
    Murray/ Jacobs

    even though Steyn and Beast were the only two playing their hearts out yesterday i feel needs a bench on his arse for a bit.

  • Comment 3, posted at 27.04.08 12:27:20 by KSA Shark © (FJ!ELN!) Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
  • We need the guys who are strong in their heads now

  • Comment 4, posted at 27.04.08 12:45:33 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
  • Rob

    Yes but No.

    Steyn is strong in the head but for MAYBE the wrong reason and a guy with mental strength who doesn’t play well in a team will be even more difficult to turn into a team player.

    We need TEAM players prepared to give it their all. At the moment I feel Steyn (as an example only) fits into the 2nd category but not so much into the first.

  • Comment 5, posted at 27.04.08 12:52:17 by KSA Shark © (FJ!ELN!) Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
  • Nope….we can’t play either Barritt or Adi at flyhalf.

    The only options are Steyn or Ruan.

    I would go for a backline of:


    I would give Stefan a break and let Kockott come on at scrummie in the second half.

    Give Henno a chance on the wing and play Odwa at fullback.

  • Comment 6, posted at 27.04.08 16:49:01 by Villie Reply
    Competition Winner
    VillieCurrie Cup player
  • The worrying thing is that Bismark has been off his game for the past couple of weeks and he’s such a crucial player. At the moment, he’s far too predictable and the opposition have sussed him out. He needs to be a bit more subtle.

  • Comment 7, posted at 27.04.08 16:51:27 by Villie Reply
    Competition Winner
    VillieCurrie Cup player
  • Hi all. How is everyone doing today?

    I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck a few times since yesterday morning.

    Fred’s injury really hit me hard because he became my 3rd out of my favorite 4 players to have serious leg injuries in 3 months..then yesterday afternoon my 4th was hurt as well but thankfully they think it is only a pulled muscle or pinched nerve in/around his knee.

    I’m starting to wonder if I’m like some sort of cosmic jinx to these guys.

  • Comment 8, posted at 27.04.08 19:34:07 by Milissa Reply

    MilissaVodacom Cup player
  • pleas tell me you’re NOT a Brad Barritt fan! ;)

  • Comment 9, posted at 27.04.08 20:16:47 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
  • Right now..I’m not going to say I’m a fan of any of the Sharks. I don’t think we can afford anymore injuries.

    Hell I’m even afraid at this point to leave my ‘Good Luck’ comments on some of the guys facebook profiles.

    Someone over on the Sharks blog suggested I go pick some Saders players to like for the week. :lol:

  • Comment 10, posted at 27.04.08 20:34:06 by Milissa Reply

    MilissaVodacom Cup player
  • It’s been confirmed. He’s on his way back to France. I wonder what happens to his stuff in Durbs

  • Comment 11, posted at 27.04.08 22:23:13 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
  • And bang goes our Currie Cup chances.

    Michalak hasn’t had the impact we all hoped he would in the S14, but I reckon he would have sizzled in the Currie Cup.

    At least the the Kings Park cleaners won’t have to dust off ALL the cobwebs in the trophycase this season :roll: :evil:

  • Comment 12, posted at 27.04.08 23:18:44 by Le Requinny Reply
    QuinnysharkCurrie Cup player
  • Rob..I’m in the process of finding that out. I’d imagine he’ll come back to claim it or send his dad or one of his sisters to pack it up for him.

  • Comment 13, posted at 28.04.08 00:48:38 by Milissa Reply

    MilissaVodacom Cup player
  • If he doesn’t come back, I imagine the NRU will send someone over to pack up & send his stuff back to him in France.
    Why on earth would he send his family back – think of the expense?!

  • Comment 14, posted at 28.04.08 11:16:40 by Le Requinny Reply
    QuinnysharkCurrie Cup player
  • Anyhoo, here’s an article from Ryan V, sticking the knife in…but I generally I tend to agree.

    No-show show pony

    Frederic Michalak could be the most beautiful letdown South African rugby has ever seen.

    Michalak always looked out of place in the bump and grind world of the Top 14. The Frenchman, shackled by the structured approach of Toulouse and the atrocious conditions that prevailed for the majority of the season, was like a owning an exotic pet capable of a wide range of mind-blowing tricks but keeping it caged for fear of an accident.

    Michalak was born to play Super Rugby.

    When he touches the ceiling of his ability few 10s can match his skills set. Impossibly brilliant nudges off the side of his boot, passes that find their mark with metronomic consistency (even the ambitious ones where he opts not to look at his target or deliver the pill out of the back of his hand) and scything linebreaks that consumes the self-belief of defenders.

    However, Michalak promised so much yet delivered so little. There were moments that left you in awe of the man – like when he started and finished a move that revived a rotting Shark carcass against the Bulls in Round 3. However, for the most part, watching Michalak was like waiting years to see your favourite band perform live, only for them to lip sync their way through the entire performance. You left feeling cheated and unfulfilled.

    Mitigating circumstances there are aplenty. The one that smacks you in the face is obvious – no continuity. Instead of giving their costly investment as much time to adapt to the demands of Super Rugby as possible, head coach Dick Muir opted to rotate Michalak with Frans Steyn – the latter proving limited in his effectiveness.

    Perhaps Michalak over-rated his own ability to excel in the southern hemisphere showpiece. When we met in Durban earlier this year he struck me as a supremely confident individual. The problem was that he also tried, unsuccessfully, to hide his alter ego – let us for the purposes of this piece call him Joe – who surfaces in the face of pressure and the absence of millions of Toulouse fans telling him just how great he is.

    Joe is the antithesis of Fred – lacking in self-belief, pragmatic, conformist, orthodox and brunette. Sadly, after a brief cameo from Fred, Joe surfaced in the Super 14.

    Rugby is of course a study of cause and effect relationships. If the tight five are average the loose trio more often than not nullified which in turn blunts the potency of the halfbacks and so on and so on. So to isolate Michalak and make an absolute judgement on his form is unfair without taking into consideration that a pack who were arguably the finest in the 2007 tournament are little more than average at present.

    A decision is yet to be made on whether Michalak will continue at the franchise after suffering a season ending knee injury against the Waratahs on Saturday. Keo.co.za’s calls to Sharks CEO Brian van Zyl to find out proved fruitless. Michalak was set to continue through the Currie Cup and assess his options thereafter.

    However, to say Michalak will never crack Super Rugby would be ridiculous. He is far to gifted not to excel in a tournament and at a franchise where the style of play suits him perfectly.

    Perhaps there is value in the Sharks negotiating a return for Michalak in 2009. He would have a season’s experience in the tournament and the culture shock of moving from Toulouse to Durban won’t be a factor. Perhaps then we’d see more of Fred and less of Joe.

    The question now is: who will replace the fallen frog? Both the candidates are equally prone to hybrids of the brilliant and infuriatingly ordinary. In Steyn they have the country’s most trumpeted youngster, whose game in recent times has lacked the quality that reams of rhetoric would have us believe. Ruan Pienaar, who former head coach Jake White said would be his first-choice flyhalf in 2009, hasn’t had nearly enough game time in the position to make a fair and informed assessment. He was solid without being spectacular as a replacement for Michalak against the Tahs.

    Pienaar has, however, stated on numerous occasions that he feels his best position is scrumhalf and one has to consider the psychological impact playing out of his preferred position will have. The Sharks have serious problems at flyhalf and they’re in dire need of a general who is able to bring some direction and composure to a talented but misfiring backline.

    “Bath Rugby club how may we help you?” “Er, yes hello. Could I speak to Mister James please?”

    By Ryan Vrede

    Judging Joe

    Round 1 v Force
    Michalak is injured ruling him out of his debut Super 14 match.
    Round 2 v Stormers
    Michalak plays for 62 minutes before being replaced by Adi Jacobs. He struggled as extreme humidity made handling very difficult.
    Round 3 v Bulls
    Michalak, who played for 80 minutes, was virtually anonymous in this forward dominated clash played in torrential rain. He did, however, come up with a moment of magic with the Sharks trailing 15-10 which was the catalyst that sparked their dramatic comeback.
    Round 4 v Blues
    Michalak plays for 80 once more but his contributions are not significant.
    Round 5 v Lions
    Comes on as a 59th minute replacement for Brad Barritt and interchanges with Frans Steyn at flyhalf but spends most of his time in midfield making no impact. Why Muir opted to bench him for this match is beyond comprehension. It would have given him an opportunity to build up his confidence, which was clearly lacking at the time.
    Round 6 v Reds
    On as a 41st minute substitute for Waylon Murray. Steyn went to fullback and the Sharks looked to have gained more direction with Michalak introduced at flyhalf.
    Round 7 v Hurricanes
    80 minutes for Michalak here but the fact that his pack struggled and his halfback partner Ruan Pienaar was off colour didn’t help his cause.
    Round 8 v Highlanders
    After a solid first half that featured Michalak grubbering through a ball that eventually lead to a try, the Frenchman faded with the rest of his team in the second half.
    Round 9 v Brumbies
    His finest performance in a Sharks shirt came in the first 40 minutes of this match. Here we saw the Michalak that everyone expected. His form coincided with superb set phase work by the Sharks’ heavies. If only they could have given him that sort of platform more often.
    Round 10 v Waratahs
    The game that ended his season and perhaps his Sharks career. Up to the point were his knee jarred horribly he was looking very good.

  • Comment 15, posted at 28.04.08 11:24:01 by Le Requinny Reply
    QuinnysharkCurrie Cup player

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