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Bateman back in hospital - but rugby will still be a big part of his future; WELSH-SCOTTISH LEAGUE: Veteran centre preparing for life outside the game.

Byline: GARETH ROBERTS

VETERAN centre Allan Bateman is preparing for life after rugby by returning to his original profession - working in a hospital testing laboratory.

And although the dual-code international sits on the bench when Glasgow visit The Gnoll today and he is busy sorting out his future, Bateman intends to be part of the Welsh rugby scene for some time to come - and perhaps even beyond the end of next season.

James Storey and Dave Tiueti make up the Welsh All Blacks' midfield combination today and Bateman said, "I think it may be the case that I'm here now to back the other players up rather than drag them through.

"But I don't have a problem with that. It's not an insult in anyway and I intend to do everything I can to help Neath win their place in the Heineken Cup for next season.

"I'm still very much enjoying my rugby and I want to have a good season with the club next term to finish my contract off.

"But after that I'm also, at this stage, intending to keep on training with Neath. I don't think there'll be another contracted situation and I wouldn't be there for money.

"I'd just like to help them out if they need me beyond next season, nothing else.

"It's something I have to speak to our coach, Lyn Jones, about. I've been back at my original job now for eight weeks. I'm working at Morriston Hospital and doing so around my rugby commitments.

"With the staffing levels in the National Health Service, it seems they are glad to have me and I'm glad they have given me the opportunity to return to the type of work I left when I joined Warrington in 1990.

"The job has given me a chance to get away from rugby and it's been refreshing to have something else to think about."

Coach Jones says that if Glasgow arrive at the Gnoll for the 2pm kickoff in the right frame of mind, they will present a tough challenge.

"Glasgow are an excellent side.

They play positive rugby and have an exceptionally strong game, " he said.

"They were a pleasure to play against when we narrowly beat them last month, " said Jones.

"Although we came away with a win in Scotland, and they do not seem to perform as well away from home, there will be no room for complacency from us.

"It takes two teams to produce an entertaining game of rugby, and you can be sure that when you play the Scottish teams, they are out to improve and play positive rugby.

"I do not think the referee will affect the outcome as, if the game is as good as the one in Scotland, even I could referee it!"

Calvin Howarth - distant cousin of Newport fly-half Shane - will make his first start for Glasgow. The flyhalf, who is on loan from Edinburgh, was a second-half replacement in Glasgow's 21-16 win over Bridgend on Wednesday.

Glasgow have only two changes in the starting line-up from midweek.

Howarth replaces Graeme Kiddie, and ex-Wallaby Cameron Blades, a first-half replacement for David Hilton against Bridgend, remains at loosehead.

It will be the Australian prop's first start since his shoulder injury in midOctober.

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HOSPITAL JOB: But Allan Bateman happy to stay with Neath
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Apr 13, 2002
Words:555
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