France flyhalf Michalak retires

France flyhalf Frederic Michalak has ended his international rugby career after limping off in Saturday’s record 62-13 loss to defending champions New Zealand in the World Cup quarterfinals.

Michalak hobbled off after just 12 minutes at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff with a leg injury and was replaced by Remi Tales.

He finished his Test career with two French records: the most career points with 436 and most points in World Cups with 136.

But his 77th and last Test cap was a disappointing one, as he made a poor start to the match, missed three tackles and then had his sloppy attempted clearance kick charged down by lock Brodie Retallick for New Zealand’s first try.

“It’s a sad ending but my body’s no longer responding,” Michalak said after the quarterfinal, in which France was on the receiving end of the heaviest margin in the World Cup knockout stages.

The 33-year-old Michalak’s topsy-turvy career started well, with him touted as France’s new star when he burst onto the scene with some exciting performances at the 2003 World Cup.

But after France went out in the semifinals to England, Michalak was criticised for a poor kicking performance.

He was in and out of the French XV after that, but made a telling contribution against the All Blacks in the 2007 World Cup quarterfinal, coming off the bench to set up flanker Thierry Dusautoir for a try in a 20-18 comeback win.

His international career dipped again after that, and he was overlooked by previous coach Marc Lievremont for the 2011 World Cup.

Lock Pascal Pape, who has 65 caps, also retired after Saturday’s defeat, while captain Thierry Dusautoir, the 2011 world player of the year, is yet to decide on whether he will continue.

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