Toulon close in on Claassens
December 28, 2012
Michael Claassens has become an integral part of Bath's team © Getty Images
Bath scrum-half Michael Claassens has reportedly agreed to a move to Toulon, but only if Jonny Wilkinson hangs up his boots at the end of the season.
Wilkinson has recently said that he will decide whether to retire at the end of the current campaign in February. If the legendary England fly-half opts to call time on his playing career, then Toulon already boast French half-back Frederic Michalak in their ranks along with former Wallaby Matt Giteau to step into the No.10 shirt.
Michalak has been turning out at scrum-half for the Top 14 league leaders this term but will cover Wilkinson's absence next season, if he retires, which would leave an opening at scrum-half. And according to reports in La Provence, the Toulon management have identified Bath's Claassens as the man to fill that void.
Claassens joined Bath ahead of the 2007-08 season and has become an integral part of their XV. He captained them during the 2009-10 campaign and has made 115 appearances in the Premiership. But according to reports in the French press, Claassens, whose contract is up at the end of the 2012-13 season, has penned a pre-contract agreement with Toulon which is dependant on Wilkinson opting to retire.
If Claassens does join Toulon then he could potentially link up with a strong Springbok contingent. John Smit and Bryan Habana have both reportedly signed for the Top 14 big spenders while they already boast Bakkies Botha and Danie Rossouw in their ranks.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The latest Week in Pictures brings you a selection of the best snaps from around the rugby world with scantily clad ladies, O'Driscoll and snow all featuring
"If I miss the first kick of the match, it shouldn't have any impact on the second. They are different entities." Tom Hamilton talks to Northampton Saints' Stephen Myler
It's time for those running Welsh rugby to stop trying to prevent its players heading to France and to start planning a future without them, writes Martin Williamson
Paul Eddison explains how the French sold English clubs down the river and why their domestic game will go from strength to strength