Home' Greymouth Star : November 12th 2013 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Don't get me wrong, I
love what I'm doing
at the moment,"
Bateman says. "But
basketball de nitely
was a really big
passion of mine."
Rewind a decade and the boy from Paroa
had his eye set on boarding at Nelson
College, a top high school for up and
coming basketball players.
However, his parents said 'no', instead
shifting Tim, his two brothers and sister,
to Christchurch in 2003, enrolling him at
Christchurch Boys' High School.
" at's when basketball just sort of went
out the backdoor," says Bateman, whose
impressive leadership skills had placed him
as captain of the New Zealand under-18
e stress of rugby can be intense, says
Bateman, who feels the pressure of needing
" ere's not many jobs you can lose
because of a bad performance in front of
everyone, in front of your friends and your
Plus, the strenuous weekly games are hard
on the body.
" ere's always that fear in rugby that
you're going to get hurt."
In comparison to the high-stakes games
of rugby he plays now, basketball was a little
more relaxed and less intense for the laid-
But, at 5ft 11in, Bateman confesses he
would not have been tall enough for a
serious career in basketball.
"I'll never know if I made the right
decision, but I'm glad I gave basketball up
for rugby," he says.
Tim's father, former Paroa School principal
Matt Bateman, recognised something
'special' in his high-achieving son from a
"He was always very co-ordinated, listened
well to advice and learned new skills fast,"
Attending Christchurch Boys' High, where
he was head boy, worked out well, as Tim
says the school is the reason he is playing
professional rugby today.
He believes he could have "fallen through
the cracks" in a di erent school.
Mason Pomare, who played alongside
Bateman on the West Coast, then again
at boys' high and in the under-19 New
Zealand team, says playing for the college
gave them exposure to age-group selectors,
because people were always watching.
"If you stayed living on the Coast all
your life, there wouldn't be the same
opportunities," Pomare says.
However, Bateman's friendly and gracious
nature overweighed his need to be a top
"I think Tim loved playing rugby with his
mates more than he loved playing rugby,"
says his gushing father.
Bateman impressed the rugby selectors
from a young age. His selection in the
under-19 New Zealand team impressed the
current backs coach of the All Blacks, Aussie
McLean, who always had him pinned to be
"He's a really intelligent bloke. He's
got really good skills, very conscientious.
I thought if he wanted to become a
professional rugby player back then he
could," McLean says.
Bateman says making a good impression
while young is key: "If you haven't made it
by 19, 20, 21 years old, then you've missed
at paid o for Bateman, as the
Crusaders picked him up at age 18.
e Crusaders was a team he found hard
to leave in 2010, when he shifted his young
family, wife Laura and two daughters Shyla,
then three, and Mylia, one, and moved to
Fukuoka, Japan, to play professionally for
the Coca Cola West Red Sparks.
e decision was not easy, but it was good
timing for the young family, and nancially
a good move.
e quick-paced and backs-orientated
game of the Japanese was a fresh take on
the game for Bateman, who was tired of the
system-oriented game of the Crusaders.
"It's all about speed, everyone's lighter and
quicker, which is good fun for a back. I think
it really helped me put pressure on my skill
set a little bit more and improve myself."
Arriving recharged in his homeland in
2012, Bateman now has his eye set on New
Zealand's top team. Of Ngai Tahu decent,
the closest he has come so far has been the
Maori All Blacks in 2005 and 2012.
"All Blacks are de nitely my goal for the
next couple of years" he says.
For this to happen, he has to shake the
historic stereotype that back mid elders
need to be big.
Weighing in at just 91kg, Bateman says it
is something the All Black selectors have
told him to work on. Normally recognised
for his skill set and speed, his focus for
now is bulking up while still playing good
rugby, which he believes is playing to his
strengths. Not to mention recovering from
a torn ligament in his knee over the coming
With his background in rugby, it is hard
to believe Bateman has not already been
Pomare says all he needs is a chance to
"He's skilful and a real competitor. I
don't know why he hasn't been given a go,
considering all the players leaving after the
As for following his dreams, Bateman says
playing for the All Blacks in a World Cup
nal would obviously be the pinnacle.
"But I'll take anything, I'll take any game."
Emma Cropper is studying journalism
at Canterbury University
Most rugby-mad lads in New Zealand would love to be in 26-year-old Tim Bateman's position. e West Coast-born
mid elder is hot on the heels of a position in the All Blacks, he's dabbled in an international rugby career in Japan, and
he already has six years of Super Rugby under his belt. As of this moment, he's lapping up playing at second ve-eighth
for the Hurricanes. But is he living the professional sport dream? asks EMMA CROPPER.
Bateman on fire
PICTURE: Getty Images
Tim Bateman, captain of the Maori All Blacks, plays against Team Canada during the exhibition game at BMO Field last week in Toronto. e Maori team defeated Team Canada 40-15.
Links Archive November 11th 2013 November 13th 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page