The Glendale Raptors have added Michael “Mickey” Bateman for the 2019 Major League Rugby season. The 23-year-old scrumhalf is 5’10” and 174 lbs.
Mickey is from Auckland, New Zealand and playing rugby was a way of life. His father also played halfback and rugby is ingrained in the national culture. Mickey attended Kings College and played halfback for the first 15 for 2 years, and represented Auckland in age-grade rugby. He captained Auckland U14, U16 and was selected for the Auckland Blues U17 prior moving to the USA to attend Lindenwood University. Each summer while at Lindenwood, he returned to New Zealand playing for Auckland University, and winning an Under-21s Championship in 2015.
While at Lindenwood, he was was a 4-year starter at flyhalf, 2-time 7s National Champion, National MVP, and a multi-year 7s and 15s All-American, D1A Back of the Year and the D1A USA National 7s MVP. The team finished in the top 8 in the country for 4 straight years and made the national semi-final three of the four years, and won two 7s Collegiate National Championships.
Upon graduation with a Bachelor’s in Mass Communications, he joined Clemson University as an Assistant Coach. Clemson University Head Rugby Coach, Steve Lynch said “Mickey is known throughout collegiate rugby as one of the best and most knowledgeable players in the country. We are very fortunate to have him join the Clemson family and we expect him to make an immediate impact on our competitiveness both in the D1A Mid-South and nationally. I’ve known Mickey for 4 years, he is an exceptional player, but more importantly, an exceptional person, the type of character we are recruiting at Clemson.”
Coach Bateman stated, “Over the last 3 years at Lindenwood we have seen more and more of Clemson on the rugby scene. As time has gone on, I have seen huge improvements and they have collected some great wins as underdogs. To me, Clemson rugby is a team that has a huge heart and are a team that no one can take lightly. There is a great core group of players with top range facilities to utilize. I want to grow these guys knowledge of the game and introduce some of my New Zealand flair and culture into the team.”
Mickey joined the Clemson City Elite RFC in 2017, playing the inaugural season in the Carolinas Greater Rugby Union D2 West Division along with the 2017 D2 Men’s Club National Champions – Life University Running Eagles, Charlotte RFC, Atlanta Old White, and the Atlanta Renegades.
Near the end of the 2018 MLR season Mickey joined the Glendale Raptors and for 2019 he was just added to the team. The Glendale Raptors published under their team that “The competition and culture of the sport are what makes him happiest playing, and Mickey especially value the pressure to build the trust of his teammates, the unified vision they share in pressing toward a common goal. Mickey values nutrition and considers himself a master in the kitchen.”