Joe Schmidt coaches All Blacks ahead of Ireland series

He was due to join the coaching set-up after the summer series, but Joe Schmidt has been called up to help coach the All Blacks ahead of the first Test against Ireland, after head coach Ian Foster and two of his assistant coaches tested positive for Covid.

Kiwi Schmidt coached Ireland for six years from 2013 and his reign included Ireland’s first two wins over the All Blacks, including Ireland’s first ever win against New Zealand, in 2016.

“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.”

Joe Schmidt coaches All Blacks ahead of Ireland series

Foster takes all Blacks training (Getty Images)

As well as the All Blacks coaches, New Zealand’s centres David Havili and Jack Goodhue are also isolating. Ireland winger Mack Hansen has tested positive for Covid too. On a purely injury front, Ulster duo Iain Henderson and Rob Herring both picked up knocks. The pair have been scanned in Auckland, while Munster’s Niall Scannell has been added to the squad as hooker cover.

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Ireland will play the Maori All Blacks on Wednesday, before the first Test is played at Eden Park, on Saturday.

In total they will play three Tests against the All Blacks, as well as two matches against the Maori All Blacks.

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