Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has returned to New Zealand due to a family bereavement.
Ireland are currently preparing for their opening Rugby World Cup warm-up game on Saturday with Italy the opposition at the Aviva Stadium.
Defence and future head coach Andy Farrell has been leading the training sessions over the last number of days along with Greg Feek, Simon Easterby and Richie Murphy.
Feek spoke to the media today at the team’s base in Carton House and confirmed that Schmidt will return to Ireland at the end of the week in time for the opening match with Italy.
“Unfortunately Joe had to go back to New Zealand due to a family bereavement,” Feek said.
“He’ll be back in a few days’ time. On behalf of the team, I’d like to pass on our condolences to Joe and his wider family.
“He’ll be back at some stage near the end of the week.”
Feek said that Schmidt’s absence has not impacted the team’s preparation for this weekend’s match.
“Joe has things in place and that includes the management, particularly the coaches and the players know their roles. It has been quite seamless in that sense and we all know Joe is on the computer keeping an eye on things as well. That’s the environment we’re in, we’ve got to keep going and prepare for a really important Test match this week.
“Andy has taken the reins and has been doing quite a good job to be fair to him.”
Ireland will announce their starting lineup on Thursday afternoon for Saturday’s opening warm-up game with Italy.