Former Hautapu half-back in race to be fit for European Champions final

posted in: News, Rugby

A specially-designed glove might help former Hautapu player Tawera Kerr-Barlow play in rugby’s European Champions Cup final in France at the weekend.

All Black Kerr-Barlow broke two bones in his left hand while playing for his La Rochelle club who meet Leinster in Europe’s biggest club game at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille (3.45am kick off NZT, Sunday May 29).

At first, he was ruled out of the final but now his coach, former Irish international Ronan O’Gara, thinks he’s found a way to get him into the final.

Drawing on his knowledge of the Irish game of hurling, O’Gara will try to have Kerr-Barlow wear the type of protective glove used to prevent injuries in the highly-physical sport.

O’Gara told RTÉ Sport: “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.”

As well as Kerr-Barlow, the cup final will feature a number of New Zealand players including Jamison Gibson-Park and James Lowe (Leinster) and Ihaia West and Victor Vito (La Rochelle).

A student of Hamilton Boys High School, Kerr-Barlow played senior rugby for Hautapu as he started his professional career with Waikato, as an 18-year-old. He made his All Blacks debut in 2012 and joined La Rochelle in 2018.

Main photo: Kerr-Barlow in action for Hautapu.

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