Wed 14 May 2014 | 08:55
Wed 14 May 2014 | 08:55
Tim Bateman has announced he will head to Japan at the end of the Super Rugby season to take up a two-year deal with the West Red Sparks.
Bateman's decision to leave New Zealand has nothing to do with rugby and everything to do with family.
Sadly, Bateman's second stint in the Fukuoka region, is because his wife Laura was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last year.
Bateman had to asses his options for his wife's medical care, they even looked into a move to South Africa as an option.
After a tough few months the couple have decided to take their family overseas in order to access the best possible medical treatment.
"To cut a long story short, my wife was diagnosed with MS last year and we had to make a decision based on the treatment that was not going to be available here in New Zealand for her," Bateman said.
"We had opportunities to go to a number of places where the treatment was available, which was pretty much anywhere else other than New Zealand including South Africa, Australia, UK, America.
"She needed to show a level of deterioration before they would fund her for treatment here, whereas we could go away and get it just about anywhere."
The former Crusaders stalwart said it was difficult to leave New Zealand and their family support network, but in the end it became a 'no brainer'.
Aside from being a familiar place for the family, Bateman played for the Red Wings from 2010 to 2012, Japan offered several other benefits, he said.
"Literally 100 metres from where we lived the leading MS specialist in Japan is there and they've said to us she will be well looked after.
"They are understanding with the situation and flexible with my time.
"I have a heap more time there than I do here in terms of we don't travel anywhere near as much.
"We have 14 games a season and six of those are away games and you are only away for one night."
The 26-year-old will be a major loss to the Hurricanes where he has been part coach, part player and entirely a professional in all he does.
His role in the current season has been restricted due to a knee injury suffered in the final training session before the first match, then a shoulder injury in his return match against the Crusaders in round six.
Since then he has been restricted to cameos off the bench as Alapati Leiua has made the midfield role his own.
Bateman finally gets another start though on Friday night against the Highlanders in one of four changes to a Hurricanes side missing hooker Dane Coles, who has been ruled out with a back injury.