Ex-France fly-half Michalak says ending career at season's end


Lyon (AFP)

Former France international fly-half Frederic Michalak said Monday he would retire from rugby at the end of the season.

The 35-year-old, who made 77 appearances for France and currently plays for Top 14 side Lyon, said he was no longer confident that he could withstand the rigours of top-class rugby.

"After thinking long and hard about an offer from the club (to stay), I will end my career at the end of the season," Michalak said.

"I still have that love for the game but this is a sport where you have to be at 200 percent physically.

"I am 35 and it is getting more and more difficult, so I said this would be a good year to stop."

Despite his age Lyon have benefitted from Michalak accelerating their game both this season and last, with his experience and class helping them establish their Top 14 status since promotion in 2016.

Michalak began his career in 2000 at his home town club, French powerhouses Stade Toulouse where he played over 600 games over seven years and played a key part in their 2001 French championship win and two European Champions Cups triumphs in 2003 and 2005.

Michalak is France's all-time international top point scorer with 436 and he was part of four Six Nations winning teams, including three Grand Slams.

But he will be forever remembered in France for his quarter-final substitute appearance in the 2007 World Cup when he set up the winning try for Yannick Jauzion in a landmark defeat of New Zealand in Cardiff.

The fly-half's speed took him away from the All Black players in pursuit before he off-loaded to Jauzion to touch down.

France eventually lost in the semi-final to England, meaning Michalak's ecstatic 40 yard burst and pass for the winning try against the All Blacks turned out to be the abiding moment of glory for the French.