Bateman to push Test hookers

Date published: August 1 2015

Leicester hooker Greg Bateman is ready to push hard for a starting place, even when Leonardo Ghiraldini and Tom Youngs return from the World Cup.

The former Exeter Chief, who arrived at Welford Road in the off-season, knows he has a job on his hands to see off his international competition for the shirt.

During the World Cup it is expected Bateman will battle it out with Harry Thacker for the hooking position. But even when the aforementioned international duo return, the 26-year-old will not sit back and allow them to walk back into the side.

"If I am going to come and compete and push for a spot, it will make Leo and Tom be on their toes and that will be good for the squad," he told the Leicester Mercury.

"Even if they play ahead of me, I will be pushing them.

"Cockers and Mage (Aaron Mauger) will want people coming here to ruffle some feathers. All I can do is put my best foot forward and show that I want to take an opportunity if it is there."

Bateman showed glimpses of his qualities at the Chiefs and while admitting it was difficult to leave Sandy Park, he could not turn down the Tigers' offer.

"I was in a position at Exeter where I was looking for a bit more game time and in a World Cup year, Cockers told me that they were looking for somebody with a bit of Premiership experience," he revealed.

"He told me that Mage was coming over as well and that was too good an opportunity to turn down.

"Welford Road is a special place to play and I am really looking forward to getting out there.

"I had a rough idea of what things are like here but you only truly know an environment when you have played in it.

"It's a new environment for us all this season with new players and coaches.

"I don't think Leicester ever accept second best. If you look at the squad that is here now, it is very impressive, but if you think of who is to come back, it makes it even better. You have to step up and everyone is pushing everyone else.

"As a player, you always want to come and express yourself and earn the right to keep the shirt if you are given it."