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Rugby Union: Bateman put in `all league' Welsh midfield

Allan Bateman will become the latest rugby league professional welcomed back by Wales when he faces the world champions, South Africa, at Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday.

The Richmond centre was called up last night as a replacement for Bridgend's Gareth Thomas, who damaged his mouth playing when he clashed heads with Pontypridd's Steele Lewis during a club match last weekend. "Gareth has been in some discomfort, and the concern is that there may be an infection," Wales' coach, Kevin Bowring, said.

Bateman's return, more than six years after he won caps against Scotland, Ireland and Namibia, means Wales field an "all league" midfield of Jonathan Davies, Bateman and Scott Gibbs.

Wales have made two enforced changes on the replacements' bench, with the Cardiff centre Leigh Davies taking over from Bateman and Richmond's Craig Quinnell out with a "dead" leg. Bowring has elevated Nathan Thomas, a 20-year-old Bath back row man, from Emerging Wales duties as cover. The prop David Young is fit, after having stitches in his chin following a training collision with Pontypridd's Dale McIntosh.