Having finally got his man, for the next six weeks at least, Mike Ruddock will use Eoghan Hickey’s loan period to assess whether to rekindle a permanent interest in the fly half.
The London Irish play-maker yesterday accepted Ruddock’s request to help out Worcester with their temporary halfback shortage just a few months after turning down the opportunity to make Sixways his regular home.
With Loki Crichton and Matthew Jones out with their respective heel and foot injuries, the Warriors director of rugby has only the inexperienced Joey Carlisle as an option at No 10 which is why he moved to bring the former Ireland A player to the club as cover.
The 27-year-old goes straight into the squad for this weekend’s crucial European Challenge Cup tie with Bourgoin and with Crichton out of contract at the end of the season could be a contender for a place in Ruddock’s squad.
“I could well look at him next summer,” Ruddock said. “It’s down to him now and how he performs. He needs to show us he’s a quality player and he can operate in our team structures, we know he can as an individual, but it’s about getting that cohesion with our side.
“That’s critical as to whether there are any thoughts about what happens next. In the immediate-term we need to get through this six-week period and get some boys back. If anything happens after that we will just have to wait and see. There will be half an eye on him but I have to respect the fact he is under contract to another team.”
Hickey’s recruitment was brought about by the results of a scan on Crichton’s heel that have ruled him out for four or five weeks although Ruddock is confident the new man can make an impact.
“Eoghan is a proven player,” Ruddock said. “He has played a number of games in the Premiership, he has played Heineken Cup rugby, he has played Ireland A, Munster and Leinster and is part of a very successful London Irish team.
“We have managed to get his registration sorted with the RFU and European Rugby so he will figure in the 22.”