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Bateman previews forward battle at Sale

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Leicester Tigers front-rower Greg Bateman warns his side must not underestimate the challenge facing them at Sale Sharks on Friday (February 21, 7.45pm).

Tigers head to the AJ Bell Stadium for Round 11 of the Gallagher Premiership season following a hard-fought win over Wasps as Welford Road was battered by Storm Dennis.

But loosehead prop Bateman – scorer of the first try last time out – explained that conditions are likely to be against Geordan Murphy’s men once again on Friday evening.

“You’re losing a day in your preparation,” he said. “You’re going up to Sale on a Friday night where we’re expecting conditions to be worse to biblical, so I think it’s about keeping a very simple game plan and looking to execute.”

And with a powerful forward pack coached by former Tigers hooker Dorian West, Bateman picked out the similarities between the two sides’ styles of play.

He continued: “Sale have traditionally had a good set piece. They’ve recruited exceptionally well this year, and have a very physical pack as well as some very creative attacking players in the 9, 10 role. Their back three are very dangerous as well.

“We’re by no means underestimating the challenges ahead of us on Friday night, but we don’t spend all week worrying too much about what the opposition are going to do.

“We’ll prepare as well as we can to put it on them on Friday.”

Even with five members of the senior squad otherwise engaged in Six Nations action this weekend, Bateman added the improved depth of the Tigers ranks can start to show during this block of league fixtures.

“We’ve got a good squad,” he said. “Especially now – we’ve traditionally struggled at this time of year when a lot of our boys are away for country, and it’s about guys coming in and taking the opportunity with both hands.”