“MICHALAK IS back” screams the headline in this week’s Midi Olympique, alongside a photograph of Toulon’s Freddie, a player for whom the word ‘mercurial’ could have been invented. Michalak played…

Bakkies Botha

THEY SAY Lourdes is where you go in search of a miracle cure, but if you’re a thirty-something Englishman Toulon seems to be the place in France that has healing…

HE'S GOT the Vespa, he’s learning French and Aled Brew has even been bodyboarding in the famous Biarritz surf. Yes, the former Dragons’ wing is enjoying his new life in…

Chabal fan

By Gavin Mortimer, Rugby World writer FOR A man who two years ago was reputedly the highest paid rugby player in the world, Sebastien Chabal embarked upon the latest stage…

Luke Charteris

DOWN IN Perpignan Luke Charteris isn’t hard to miss. At 6ft 9in and 20st, and with that fair Celtic skin of his, he stands out a mile in the Catalan…

Gethin Jenkins

By Gavin Mortimer, Rugby World writer THE OLYMPICS are over and the football season is about to get underway. But don’t worry, it’s not all depressing news on the sports…

French Focus: Top 14 Final

THE FRENCH domestic season reaches its climax on Saturday evening as Toulon take on Toulouse in front of a full house at the Stade de France. Reigning champions Toulouse are…

French focus: Top 14 Semi-final play-offs

AS THE Home Nations gear up for Down Under, across the Channel in France the Top 14 is coming to the boil, writes Gavin Mortimer. The French domestic season is…

IN FRANCE they call them ‘les barrages’, in English we’d call them ‘play-offs’; perhaps the best description is the Top 14 quarter-finals, which is in effect what unfolds on Saturday…