RUGBY UNION: Batemen seeks to make mark

London Welsh hooker Greg Bateman drives on against Stade Francais

London Welsh hooker Greg Bateman drives on against Stade Francais

First published in Sport Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter specialising in Rugby, Cricket and Athletics. Call me on 01865 425456

London Welsh hooker Greg Bateman knows today’s clash with Grenoble offers players like him a real opportunity.

The 23-year-old has yet to start an Aviva Premiership game for the Exiles, but has featured prominently in their Amlin and LV Cup sides.

Although dropping to the bench for today's clash, Bateman wants to keep up the pressure on Neil Briggs, who has been Welsh’s first-choice hooker this season.

“Briggsy is in front of me at the moment and is really experienced,” said Bateman, who starts again against Grenoble today.

“The last time we played in the Amlin against Stade Francais and Prato was an opportunity for me to put myself forward.

“After that I got more time in the Premiership.

“Lyn Jones is looking for individuals to improve themselves.

“I know the areas that I am working on.

“I want to play every week, but you have got to take your opportunities.”

Bateman is confident the Exiles can maintain their good home form today.

“Grenoble are definitely beatable,” said Bateman. “They didn’t have anything that was more dangerous than we play against every other week.

“I think we can win this week, especially as we are on our home pitch where we have won two of our last three games.”

He added: “Grenoble have made their home pitch a little bit of a fortress. That is what we have got to do.

“They have not lost at home since being promoted to the Top 14 this year, which has got them to sixth place.”

This week’s cold weather meant Welsh were not able to train at full tilt, especially on Wednesday.

“We were just going through some moves,” said Bateman.

“We were trying not to flat out because that is when you get broken ankles and legs.”

Conditions today will hopefully be an improvement on the weather experienced in France last Friday where 20-30cm of snow had to be cleared from the pitch.

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