Michael Claassens linked with move from Bath Rugby to Toulon
Negotiations between Michael Claassens and Bath Rugby are ongoing amid news Top 14 side Toulon are interested in snapping up the scrum-half.
“We’re in constant discussions with Michael but I think he’ll make a decision later on,” said Hatley about the 30-year-old, whose contract expires this summer.
“At the moment he’s committed to the club. We’re working unbelievably hard but we’ll probably know a little bit further down the line.
“He’s been a big player for this club during good and bad times, and is an integral part for us.
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“He’s been very good recently and I think is only a few games away from breaking the record for Premiership starts. Anyone who starts 80-odd times in a row for his club is a model of consistency.”
Claassens was a noticeable absentee when the club announced a list of six players to agree new deals last month.
The South African joined Bath in 2007 and soon became a key part of the side, captaining them during the 2009-10 season.
Sunday’s defeat at Wasps was his 83rd consecutive Aviva Premiership appearance – four short of Alex Brown’s record for Gloucester set between 2000-04.
Bath are also working towards bringing in some new faces but a move for Leicester Tigers fly-half George Ford, pictured below right, – son of first-team coach Mike – is unlikely, according to Hatley.
“A club as big as Bath will be linked with all sorts of players but the George link is easy because of his dad,” he said.
“We’ve been asked a lot about it and have got decent inside knowledge with his dad but at the moment the impression we’ve been given is that he wants to stay at Leicester and fight for his place.
“If you know the kid, that’s about right.
“We’ve said the club has big ambitions. We want to be playing in the Heineken Cup and, in terms of attracting players to sign, players want to play in the big competitions.
“The most important thing for us was identifying the good young players we desperately wanted to retain and nailing them down first, as I am sure other clubs would be looking at them.
“Now that January 1 has come and gone, we can be a lot more proactive in approaching other players.
“We’ve been planning for a while and I’m sure, in good time, Gary [Gold] will start to announce the ones we have worked on or are still working on.”