La Rochelle’s Kerr-Barlow to miss Champions Cup final

Broken hand will see scrumhalf miss showdown with Leinster

La Rochelle have suffered a significant blow ahead of their Champions Cup final against Leinster in Marseilles on Saturday week with confirmation that their influential former All Blacks scrumhalf Tawera Kerr-Barlow has been sidelined for six weeks with a fractured hand.

Reports had emerged in the Paris-based RMC Sport and Midi Olimpique that Kerr-Barlow may have suffered a broken hand when replaced in the 53rd minute of La Rochelle's 20-13 semi-final win over Racing 92 last Sunday and the 31-year-old has confirmed the news.

“The hand is broken, it’ll take six weeks to fix,” the former All Black, capped 27 times, told AFP. “It’s a shame, it’s bad timing but that’s the life of a rugby player. If we get to the final of the Top 14 (on June 24th), I might be available.”

Kerr-Barlow started every single game in La Rochelle’s run to the final last season and had done so again this season.

The absence of the 2015 Rugby World Cup winner, who has been at La Rochelle since 2017, leaves head coach Ronan O'Gara with the choice of either Arthur Retiere, who came on the semi-final, or Thomas Berjon against Leinster, as his other '9', Jules Le Bail, is also currently unavailable. Kerr-Barlow's absence compounds the loss of Will Skelton for the final due to a calf injury.

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