Michalak ready to end on Super Rugby high
Coach John Plumtree is looking for one last inspirational performance from French five-eighth Frederic Michalak when the Sharks do battle with the Chiefs in Saturday’s Super Rugby final in Hamilton.
Michalak was pivotal in the Sharks’ 26-19 semi-final win over the Stormers in Cape Town last week, his 16 points with the boot including two vital field goals.
Plumtree says Michalak’s effort last Saturday was superb, given he was hit with illness leading into the game.
“What pleased me was the way that Freddie kept the scoreboard ticking over every time the Stormers appeared to be coming back at us,” Plumtree said.
“I am not sure he was as good in this game as he was in some of the others he has played for us, but he was troubled by a stomach bug during the week and was vomiting at one stage. So if you consider that, then his contribution was outstanding.”
Michalak will be playing his last game for the Sharks on Saturday, and is looking to end his stint on a high.
“We had some setbacks earlier on in the season, but everyone has come back stronger with a lot of purpose and we’ve taken confidence out of our results, we’ve worked really hard,” he told the Sharks’ website.
He says the Sharks will need to capitalise on their chances to have any chance of toppling the Chiefs at home.
“Playing in finals and semi-finals are really big games and you have to put points on the board when you can, so when the opportunity comes, I try to take it.”
Promising Sharks centre Paul Jordaan will line up outside Michalak against an in-form Sonny Bill Williams at second five-eighth, replacing regular starter Tim Whitehead who fractured his hand last week.
Springbok wing JP Pietersen starts at centre, while Patrick Lambie gets the nod at fullback ahead of Riaan Viljoen.
Plumtree says the Sharks take a great deal of confidence from the fact they have a near full-strength squad.
“There has been some continuity of selection which has been great. At this time of the competition it’s really important,” he said.
“But at the same time, we’ve had some injuries as well, particularly to our midfield so it’s fantastic having Pat Lambie and Paul Jordaan coming back into contention.”© AFP 2013
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