(Reuters) - New Zealand's preparations for Saturday's first test against Ireland at Eden Park have been disrupted by an outbreak of COVID-19, forcing ailing All Blacks coach Ian Foster to call centre Braydon Ennor into his squad as cover.

Foster and assistant coach John Plumtree are isolating at home after testing positive for the virus, which has also forced centres David Havili and Jack Goodhue out of the squad camp in Auckland.

"We've had a plan for this happening, and it's a great opportunity for the wider coaching group and the senior players, who will be highly motivated to step up," Foster said in a statement.

"We have learned how to cope with the unexpected, like everyone has over the past couple of years. I will still be working alongside the coaches and team via Zoom and I have huge faith in the coaching group and the pla

Rugby: Rugby-Ennor called into All Blacks squad after COVID outbreak

(Reuters) – New Zealand’s preparations for Saturday’s first test against Ireland at Eden Park have been disrupted by an outbreak of COVID-19, forcing ailing All Blacks coach Ian Foster to call centre Braydon Ennor into his squad as cover.

Foster and assistant coach John Plumtree are isolating at home after testing positive for the virus, which has also forced centres David Havili and Jack Goodhue out of the squad camp in Auckland.

“We’ve had a plan for this happening, and it’s a great opportunity for the wider coaching group and the senior players, who will be highly motivated to step up,” Foster said in a statement.

“We have learned how to cope with the unexpected, like everyone has over the past couple of years. I will still be working alongside the coaches and team via Zoom and I have huge faith in the coaching group and the players.”

Before Saturday’s opening test Ireland will first face the Maori All Blacks in Hamilton on Wednesday in the first of two tour matches they will play in addition to the three internationals.

The Maori All Blacks team for the match was named on Monday with test regulars Brad Weber and TJ Perenara sharing both scrum-half duties and the captaincy, the latter off the bench.

“We are anticipating a huge challenge from Ireland on Wednesday. They are a top tier, physical team, with a strong defence,” said coach Clayton McMillan.

“Having Weber and Perenara as co-captains ensures there is always strong leadership on the field, especially against the unrelenting Ireland side.”

Ireland beat the All Blacks 29-20 in Dublin last November, one of three wins in the last five meetings between the teams since the Irish broke their 111-year winless streak against New Zealand in Chicago in 2016.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)



Source link

Leave a Reply