Deysel and Claassens head to Sharks

Date published: February 9 2015

The Sharks have secured a double coup with the signings of former Springboks Jean Deysel and Michael Claassens.

Deysel will return to the Durban-based side for the start of the new Super Rugby campaign after eight months spent playing for Toyota Verblitz in Japan.

Having now finished his time in Japan, he will join up with the Sharks straightaway ahead of the new Super Rugby season, and will offer an alternative to Willem Alberts in the back row.

Deysel had left the Sharks at the end of last season, reportedly unhappy with new coach Jake White. The former Springbok boss has since left the franchise, with Brendan Venter and Gary Gold now in charge, leading to Deysel's return.

Meanwhile Claassens is set to return to South Africa having spent eight seasons in Europe.

After six years with Bath in England, he joined Toulon last year, helping them to claim the double as they retained their Heineken Cup crown before winning the Top 14 title.

He is due to complete the season with Toulon before joining up with the Sharks at the end of the European season.

While Cobus Reinach offers a great first option for the Sharks at scrum-half, they have limited back-up and CEO John Smit was delighted to have Claassens on board.

"Michael Claassens is an experienced scrum-half who will add great experience and depth," said Smit.

"We all knew it was a tough decision for Jean to make when he departed last year, as his heart has always been with the Sharks. We were very sad to lose a player of his calibre and you can imagine our delight that he is returning to us."