Et voila - Claassen is in
French coach Philippe Saint-Andre made five changes to the side which has had such a calamitous start to the Six Nations. One of the new men is Antonie Claassen.
Philippe Saint-Andre, France's coach, and his helpers have made five changes to the French side which has had such a calamitous start to the Six Nations. One of the new men is Antonie Claassen.
Saint-Andre has chosen his 23 players to cross the channel to take on England at Tiwckenham on February 23 - after defeats at the hands of Italy in Rome and Wales in Paris.
Antonie, is the son of Wynand, the Springbok captain of the early 1980s and an Old Boy of Durban High school.
Claassen becomes the ninth foreigner to play for France.
The others before him are Abdelatif Benazzi (Morocco, 1990), Eric Melvill (South Africa, 1990), Dries van Heerden (South Africa, 1992), Pieter de Villiers (South Africa, 1999), Legi Matiu (Samoa, 2000), Tony Marsh (New Zealand, 2001), Steven Hall (South Africa, 2002), Brian Liebenberg (South Africa, 2003).
This is the given list, though also in the side are Thierry Dusautoir whose origins are in Cote d'Ivoire, Yannick Nyanga who was born in Kinshasa and Jocelino Sputa from the Pacific Islands of Wallis & Fortuna.
Claassen, who is now a French citizen, is thus the sixth South African to play for France.
He will not be the only South African in the Six Nations as there are also Tobie Botes and Quinton Geldenhuys in Italy, Richardt Strauss in Ireland and Brad Barrit and Mauritz Botha in England.
The other new selections are Thomas Domingo, Christophe Samson, Yannick Nyanga and Vincent Clerc. Like Claassen, Samson played for Castres and is uncapped. He is a 28-year-old lock, roughly the same age as Claassen.
Out go Maxime Mermoz, Romain Taofifenua, Yannick Forestier Fulgence Ouedraogo and Damian Chouly.
Forwards: Vincent Debaty, Thomas Domingo, Benjamin Kayser, Dimitri Szarzewski, Luc Dulcalcon, Nicolas Mas, Yohann Maetri, Christophe Samson, Jocelino Suta, Anbtonie Claassen, Thierry Dusautoir, Yannick Nyanga, Louis Picamoles.
Backs: Maxime Machenaud, Morgan Parra, Frederci Michalak, Francois Trinh-Duc, Mathieu Bastareaud, Viuncent Clerc,Benjamin Fall, Wesley Fofana, Florian Fritz, Yoann Huget.