Joe Schmidt to assist New Zealand for opener against Ireland after Covid-19 outbreak

Joe Schmidt had coached Ireland between 2013 and 2019
Joe Schmidt had coached Ireland between 2013 and 2019

New Zealand have sought the assistance of Joe Schmidt after their preparations for the three-game Test series against Ireland was disrupted by a Covid-19 outbreak.

All Blacks head coach Ian Foster along with forwards coach John Plumtree and defence coach Joe McLeod have tested positive for Covid-19 along with David Havili and Jack Goodhue.

According to New Zealand government regulations, positively tested persons need to undergo a seven day home quarantine which could prevent Foster and his assistants from attending the opening Test at Eden Park on 2nd July.

Nevertheless, the New Zealand management has now turned towards New Zealand born Schmidt, who has extensive knowledge on Ireland - a team he coached between 2013 and 2019.

The 56-year-old is already part of New Zealand's training sessions and will oversee them along with assistant coaches Brad Mooar and Greg Feek.

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

“We’ve planned for this kind of disruption and we’ve got back-up plans and people on stand-by. 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. he added.

“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.”