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Joe Schmidt drafted in by New Zealand ahead of Ireland tests


Joe Schmidt drafted in by New Zealand.

Joe Schmidt has been drafted in to the New Zealand coaching set-up after the camp was hit by an outbreak of Covid-19.

All Blacks head coach Ian Foster has tested positive, as have his assistants John Plumtree and Scott McLeod, leading to Schmidt being fast-tracked in ahead of the forthcoming test series against Ireland.

The former Ireland coach had been due to take take over from Foster at the conclusion of the tour.

New Zealand rocked by Covid.

“Joe will come in for Tuesday and Thursday’s trainings this week, and we’re really grateful to have his help,” said Foster.

“We’ve planned for this kind of disruption and we’ve got back up plans and people on standby. Joe was one of those people we could call on.

“I’ve got every confidence in our coaching group, and in our senior leaders who are all stepping up in what’s a massive test for us.

“Everyone has had to deal with these kinds of disruptions over the past couple of years. This is a real opportunity for the coaching group and team to pull together.”

Ireland squad news.

In other Covid-related news, Ireland back Mack Hansen has also tested positive and is isolating away from the rest of the squad.

Meanwhile, Iain Henderson and Rob Herring have both picked up knocks in training, while Munster’s Niall Scannell has been added to the squad to provide additional cover at hooker. Scannell is expected to arrive in New Zealand on Tuesday morning.

Ireland kick off their tour with a match against the Māori All Blacks on Wednesday, with the match getting underway at 8.05am Irish time.

They will then play the first of three tests against New Zealand on Saturday in Auckland, also at 8.05am. All tour matches will be broadcast live on Sky Sports.

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