Claassen to play for France?

2009-09-30 07:44

Stephen Nell

Cape Town - He regards France as his “second team” and that is why he won’t mind his son, Antonie, playing for Les Bleus next year.

That was the reaction of former Springbok captain Wynand Claassen to reports from the Northern Hemisphere that French coach Marc Lievremont had taken notice of his son’s good performances for Brive.

“I understand he is highly-rated, but he simply has to continue giving his best,” Claassen senior said about his son.
“France was always my second team. I played there myself for Marmande.”

Lievremont, who previously was not interested by overseas-based players, reportedly said that Antonie Claassen is the only one that interests him.

“I watch all the Top14 (French domestic tournament) games. The only overseas player I like is Antonie Claassen. He has the qualities I look for in a loose forward,” Lievremont said according to an AFP report.

Claassen (24) told Sport24 from France on Tuesday that he had gone to France “blindly” in 2007. He will qualify to play for them in October 2010 after completing 36 months of residence there. He started at Marmande, but went to Brive early in his stay.

“Olivier Magne (a former French international loose forward) was injured and appointed as coach, which meant I could take his place in the team,” said Claassen.

Claassen’s initial decision to go overseas was made because of a lack of progress in his career at the Blue Bulls.

“I never made an impact there,” he said.

That is not the case at Brive and he finds it flattering to have had his name mentioned in public by Lievremont.

“It’s a big honour, but hopefully by this time next year he is still talking about me because I only qualify to play for France in October 2010,” said Claassen.

“We are playing in the Heineken Cup this season. If I can perform at that level, it will do a lot for my confidence. You play against the best from all over Europe and it will be a good test.”

Claassen is at home on the flank or at No 8. He is a strong ball-carrier and has a good work ethic.

“I always give 100%. The French like players that are prepared to work hard,” he said.

“The standard of the Top 14 is good. Any side can beat any other on a given weekend.”


  • Ally - 2009-09-30 08:57

    good on you son. All the best. If you as half as good as your dad, you will have a great career.

  • C - 2009-09-30 09:07

    Good luck to you son ! Your dad was a great player who was poorly treated by selectors!

  • Syd - 2009-09-30 10:01

    Maybe, just maybe this young man wouldn't have been good enough for the Boks. Having said that; one needs to make an informed assessment. The Boks are blessed with loose forwards and Luke Watson has decided to move and he is not bad at all. What this highlights is that SA has some of the most gifted loose forwards in the game today. We have Spies, Kawkanski, Brussow, Burger, Smith, with K Daniels, Deysel, Botes, Potgieter, Vermulen, Grobblaar waiting on the wings. Good luck to you Antonie and if you do play for France, may you have a good career

  • Clive Goss - 2009-09-30 10:09

    Johan Knoetze en ek het op Loftus gesit en kyk hoe Wynand ore aan al wat ander provinsiale lospelers van die tyd was. Wynand is erg sleg deur die bok bestuur van die tyd behandel en dit is n Gods wonder dat hy vir rugby behoue gebly het. Jammer maar voorspoed vir jou seun in Frankryk.

  • Etienne - 2009-09-30 10:40

    He couldt get game time at the bulls. Now exactly who does he want us to move out the bok team so he can play. How about Spies, Kanko, Burger, Brussouw, Smith, Rossouw, Watson, Deysel, Daniels, Stegman, Pedrie, Vermuelen. No sorry son, go play for lost blues!!!!!!!!!

  • Johan - 2009-09-30 14:56

    Antonie is a great rugby player, he was over looked because many believed he only got selected because of his dad's reputation.It was the best decision he could have made to got to France and play in a country where his dad has no influence over selection. Good luck Antonie and Uncle Wynand!

  • ImpartialCanuck - 2009-09-30 16:03

    South Africa produces so many great players and not surprised to see many names making their way into other international teams - am even seeing this trend in cricket!! Good luck to you and hope you achieve like your great father, who had a wonderful ball carrying skills and an eye for the breakdown....... Just hope these departures don't impact the next generation!!!

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