Michalak calls time on Test career

Date published: October 18 2015

France fly-half Frédéric Michalak has announced his retirement from international rugby following Les Bleus' quarter-final exit at the World Cup. 

The 33-year-old Toulon playmaker was forced off early in France's 62-13 defeat to the All Blacks in Cardiff with a hamstring injury and looks set to miss a chunk of the Top 14 season.

"I had thought I would end my international career on a better note but my body can no longer respond," said Michalak, who is France's all-time leading points scorer.

"It's very difficult to perform constantly to a very high level, For me this is the end, for sure.

"That was quite a reality check. We played against the best team in the world, and we've seen that over 80 minutes. We really felt powerless.

"It’s tough because the World Cup has been a long journey, which ends in the worst possible way for us. 

"It’s quite sad to finish like that. I truly thought I'd be able to raise the World Cup, and I didn't imagine that I would finish like this, with an injury, which makes it even worse. 

"Of course I'll recover from this injury, but I'll take care of my body and play fewer games per year."

Michalak lamented the decent of French rugby in recent years and how far behind New Zealand they current are. 

"There’s a world between our two teams, it’s really striking. And the gap keeps growing," he said. 

"Small teams are getting big and France will drift further and further away from the top nations if the trend continues.

"One realises that the conditions are not always ideal in the French team. We were beaten by 60 points, so there’s no point in looking for excuses. 

"But I lived abroad, saw different ways of doing things, and I think that the gap will widen further if we don't find any new ways of evolving.

"We were really well prepared. Sadly, when you do nothing but play in defence, when you can't play your game on the lineouts or in the scrum, when you can't keep the ball, when you're not good in the rucks, a good preparation and good overall level of fitness won't be of great help. Against the All Blacks, you get punished for such things very quickly."