Wynand Claassen

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Wynand Claassen
Full name Wynand Claassen
Date of birth 16 January 1951
Place of birth Schweizer-Reneke
University University of Pretoria
University of Natal
Notable relative(s) George Claassen (father)
Antonie Claassen (son)
Occupation(s) Architect
Rugby union career
Position(s) No. 8
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
University of Pretoria
University of Natal
Provincial / State sides
Years Team Apps (Points)
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1981–82 Springboks 7 (0)
Correct as of 2 June 2013
Teams coached
Years Team
1986–89 University of Natal

Wynand Claassen (born 16 January 1951, in Schweizer-Reneke) is a South African rugby player. He was selected as eighth-man for Northern Transvaal whilst studying architecture at the University of Pretoria in the late 1970s.

His father was George Claassen, a schoolmaster from Middelburg Hoërskool and winner of the 1961 Comrades Marathon between Pietermaritzburg and Durban.

He formed a loose-trio with Thys Lourens and Burger Geldenhuys and soon had two Currie Cup final victories.

In 1980 he moved to Natal and was selected for the Springboks in 1981, captaining the team on his debut against Ireland. Despite Natal's relegation to the Currie Cup B section at the end of 1981 he continued as Springbok captain until 1984.

Claassen is credited with reviving rugby at the University of Natal, both as a player and later as a coach. In 1988 he coached the Durban campus of the University of Natal to the Moor Cup title.

Springbok captain[edit]

In 1981 he earned international acclaim as captain during the infamous "Rebel Tour" in New Zealand.

Political influence in South African Rugby[edit]

Since retiring from the sport, he has maintained an active role in South African Rugby across the spectrum. He is often invited to the Captain's Table at various fund raising events.

He has also earned great respect through his active involvement along with other Springbok captains supporting AfriForum's memorandum against political interference and racial discrimination in rugby.

On 12 August 2008, Wynand Claassen and a delegation of former Springbok captains met with the South African Rugby Union as part of their campaign to express concerns and lobby against the use of race to determine team selection.

In this meeting they expressed their intent to send a memorandum to the International Rugby Board. They assert that racial discrimination in sport and team selection is in conflict with international sporting regulations.


His autobiography, "More Than Just Rugby" was published in 1985.

Social Appearances[edit]

Wynand Claassen was an honorary host on the Amabokoboko Blue Train which departed in June 2009 on a rare and distinguished journey from Pretoria. He played host to exclusive guests en route to watch the Springboks vs the British & Irish Lions in their first test match in Durban.


Claassen is also an architecture graduate and occasional artist. In a Sunday Times interview with Jani Allan he described his passion for architecture: "I'm very interested in old architecture - I think it's a great pity that beautiful buildings that are part of our heritage are torn down to make way for great glass boxes." A self-portrait also accompanied the column.[1]


  1. ^ Allan, Jani (1980s). Face Value. Longstreet.