Scrum-half Michael Claassens to leave Bath Rugby at the end of the season
Head coach Gary Gold has confirmed scrum-half Michael Claassens will leave Bath Rugby when his contract expires at the end of the season.
The South Africa international has been at The Rec since joining from Free State Cheetahs in 2007 but has been linked with a move to Top 14 side Toulon since Christmas.
“Michael won’t be at the club next year,” said Gold.
“Michael has spent seven years here and has been outstanding.
“We’ve spoken about this from early days, knowing full well that Michael wanted to move on.
“It’s for no other reason than a lifestyle change. It’s probably his last full professional job before he returns home and he is quite keen to get a taste of another culture.
“I still think he is playing good enough rugby to take on another challenge, whatever that challenge is.
“We are sad to see him go but he goes with our blessing and our massive appreciation for what he has done for the club.”
The eight-cap Springbok international has been a key member of the Bath squad since arriving from his homeland and captained the club during the 2009-10 season.
The 30-year-old recently fell just short in his attempt to set the record for consecutive Aviva Premiership appearances.
January’s defeat at Wasps was Claassens’ 83rd top-flight game in a row but a hand injury at Adams Park meant he missed the subsequent wins over Worcester Warriors and London Irish, falling four games short of Alex Brown’s record set for Gloucester between 2000-2004.
Claassens, however, is expected to be fit to return to action for Bath during Saturday’s trip to Northampton Saints.