Former Leicester prop Greg Bateman has resurfaced at Dragons two months after being one of five Tigers players who refused to accept a permanent pay cut at Welford Road. Three of the five departures secured other clubs not long after leaving. Telusa Veainu joined Stade Francais, Manu Tuilagi was picked up by Sale Sharks while Noel Reid opted to switch to Agen.

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That left Bateman and Kyle Eastmond as the remaining two to still sort out their future and the prop has now managed to secure a new club, joining the PRO14 Dragons nine weeks after opting out at Leicester.

The 31-year-old posted a parting message on July 9, saying: “The only appropriate thing to do now is to say thank you to the Welford Road faithful for your support and kindness. Also to the lads for being some of the best teammates and friends in the game.

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“Sorry I didn’t get the opportunity to ride the wave with you all any longer but I leave with friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.”

Bateman now joins recent new recruits Nick Tompkins, Jonah Holmes and Joe Maksymiw at Rodney Parade. “We’re pleased to welcome Greg to our region and look forward to him making a big impact in our environment,” said Dragons boss Dean Ryan.

“He is vastly experienced from his time in the English Premiership and he will intensify competition for places up front while helping our young front row players develop.”

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Bateman – who is 5ft 10ins tall and weighs 18st 8lbs – made 92 appearances for Leicester in six seasons at Welford Road. He said: “I’m excited to get started with Dragons. Having spoken to Dean, there is a very clear path and vision for the region and I’m really keen to be a part of it.

“It’s a new challenge for me. I’ve played against lots of Guinness PRO14 teams before and I’m now looking forward to being part of a really strong competition. It’s clearly an exciting time to be a Dragon. You can feel the positivity around the region and I can’t wait to now throw myself into the set-up.”

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