Ronan O’Gara is turning to a Cork company for help getting La Rochelle scrum-half Tawera Kerr-Barlow on the pitch for Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup final against Leinster.
The New Zealander was initially thought to have been ruled out for the European showdown in Marseille after the 2015 World Cup winner broke two bones in his hand during the semi-final victory over Racing 92 10 days ago.
La Rochelle boss O’Gara has had other ideas and yesterday said he was looking to Ballincollig-based Mycro Sportsgear for a solution.
“He has two broken bones in his hand but I’m trying to see,” O’Gara said. “I need to get some hurling advice and try and get one of those Mycro gloves potentially made.
“So we’ll see what we can do with that in terms of... I mean, you’ve got to explore every possibility. Depending on his pain threshold, depending I suppose on his grip of the ball and depending on, well, the legality of it I think is okay. People have played with those hurling gloves in the past.
“We just have to wait and see with that.”
O’Gara was waiting for confirmation that Australian lock Will Skelton had come through his return off the bench at home to Stade Francais last weekend but revealed former All Black back-row Victor Vito was a doubt after hurting his ankle in the same game.
“He’s struggling with an ankle issue. It was typical. He was previewed to play 43 minutes and I was trying to get a line-out at the far side of the pitch so he would get the acclamation of the crowd in his final game in (Stade Marcel) Deflandre, which is important for players who have given so much to the club.
“Typically, we had a kick-off reception, he got his foot caught and someone fell on it in an awkward position so he’s sore today. He’s in a moon boot so it’s not ideal obviously. He’s in a massive race against time.”