Wynand Claassen (born 16 January 1951, in Schweizer-Reneke
) is a former South African rugby
player and Springbok
He was selected as eighth-man for Northern Transvaal
whilst studying architecture at the University of Pretoria
in the late 1970s. He formed a loose-trio with Thys Lourens
and Burger Geldenhuys
and soon had two Currie Cup
final victories, in 1975
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.
He played seven test matches for the Springboks, all as captain and also played in six tour matches, scoring two tries.
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
In 1981 he earned international acclaim as captain during the infamous "Rebel Tour" in New Zealand
Political influence in South African Rugby
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.
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.
His father was George Claassen, a schoolmaster from Middelburg Hoërskool
and winner of the 1961 Comrades Marathon
*List of South Africa national rugby union players
– Springbok no. 519
Category:People from Schweizer-Reneke
Category:White South African people
Category:Blue Bulls players
Category:Sharks (Currie Cup) players
Category:South African rugby union players
Category:South Africa international rugby union players
Category:University of Pretoria alumni
Category:South Africa national rugby union team captains