Waratahs have no interest in Michalak - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Waratahs have no interest in Michalak

By Darren Walton 27/04/2011 05:15:03 PM Comments (0)

The NSW Waratahs say they'd rather sign a schoolboy rookie than recruit former French five-eighth Frederic Michalak - or any other international playmaker for that matter.

NSW coach Chris Hickey on Wednesday laughed off talk Michalak was poised to join the Waratahs next season as a replacement for Melbourne-bound Wallabies ace Kurtley Beale.

Reports out of France overnight claimed Michalak - a two-time World Cup semi-finalist who formerly played Super Rugby with the Durban-based Sharks - was set to leave Toulouse after failing to nail down a first-team spot with the European champions.

"We haven't spoken to anybody called Freddy Michalak," Hickey said, somewhat bemused by the speculation.

Michalak is merely the latest big-name player to be linked with a move to Sydney, with Welsh pair Dwayne Peel and Mike Phillips and Melbourne's ex-England fly-half Danny Cipriani also said to be interested in joining the `Tahs.

"You hear all sorts of names tossed around, I guess, during a season and sometimes you have only got to have a look at who their managers are to find out where those rumours emanate from," Hickey said.

"But we're not pursuing any of those players."

Hickey, though, did confirm his interest in luring back Rocky Elsom, with the Wallabies captain's two-year deal with the Brumbies expiring at the end of this season.

"Rocky's a player who played, I think, 66 Super Rugby games for the Waratahs," Hickey said.

"He's off contract at the end of this season so you're always interested in quality players, particularly (with) the history he has with the Waratahs.

"If he was to return, it would be a great acquisition."

Michalak, though, has no appeal to the Waratahs.

"In terms of Kurtley's move, we're not looking to recruit a high-profile five-eighth or fullback," Hickey said.

"We've still got Berrick Barnes, Daniel Halangahu with us. We're fortunate that (Wallabies utility) Adam Ashley-Cooper will be on board for the next couple of years and he can obviously cover that 15 spot as well.

"In terms of a 10, we'd like to identify a good young player - whether it's someone coming out of school or someone around about 19, 20 age group that we could do some work with and develop over the next couple of seasons.

"Our preference is always to contract from within Australia but it depends on what players are available and coming off contract."

With Luke Burgess heading to Toulouse, NSW's priority is securing another halfback.

Meanwhile, coach Hickey on Wednesday confirmed hamstring injuries would sideline skipper Phil Waugh and No.8 Wycliff Palu from Saturday night's home clash with the Rebels.

But Beale (knee), first-choice five-eighth Berrick Barnes (concussion) and hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau (knee) were all named to play.

In the forwards, Pat McCutcheon will fill Waugh's No.7 jumper and Ben Mowen will start at No.8.

With Barnes back after several weeks' absence, Beale reverts to fullback and Soseni Anesi replaces Drew Mitchell (ankle) on the wing, with Tom Kingston relegated to the bench.

NSW: Kurtley Beale, Lachie Turner, Ryan Cross, Tom Carter, Berrick Barnes, Soseni Anesi, Luke Burgess, Ben Mowen, Pat McCutcheon, Dave Dennis, Sitaleki Timani, Dean Mumm (capt), Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson. Res: John Ulugia, Al Baxter, Kane Douglas, Chris Alcock, Brendan McKibbin, Daniel Halangahu, Tom Kingston.

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