Rugby | SPORTS

Schmidt Steps In For Foster

Joe Schmidt has been called in to help coach the All Blacks in their first test against Ireland at Eden Park on Satur­day after a COVID-19 outbreak in camp.
29 Jun 2022 14:02
Schmidt Steps In For Foster
Joe Schmidt.

Joe Schmidt has been called in to help coach the All Blacks in their first test against Ireland at Eden Park on Satur­day after a COVID-19 outbreak in camp.

Schmidt was not due to start his selector/ analyst role with the All Blacks until the Rugby Championship but after head coach Ian Foster, forwards coach John Plumtree, and defence coach Scott McLeod all caught COVID-19, he will now attend team trainings this week.

In further disruption for the All Blacks, Crusaders midfielders David Havili and Jack Goodhue plus fullback Will Jordan have also been removed from the team because of COV­ID-19. Crusaders centre Braydon Ennor has joined the squad as cover.

 

Schmidt coached Ireland from 2013 to 2019, a period that included their first win and maid­en home victories against the All Blacks – be­fore returning home last year.

Schmidt’s intimate knowledge of Ireland’s senior players and management (Irish head coach Andy Farrell was his assistant) is sure to prove valuable.

Losing their most experienced coaches caus­es significant disruption for the All Blacks, however.

All Blacks head coach Ian Foster.

All Blacks head coach Ian Foster.

Given the seven-day isolation period assis­tant coaches Brad Mooar and scrum coach Greg Feek, alongside Schmidt, will largely as­sume the reins.

Havili was expected to start at second five-eighth alongside Rieko Ioane in the All Blacks midfield but Quinn Tupaea may now benefit from his and Goodhue’s respective.

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck also now looms as po­tential bench cover, although the All Blacks could prefer fellow test rookie Leicester Fainga’anuku.

 

In a statement from isolation, Foster said he was confident in the team’s ability to carry on preparing for the first test.

“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,” he said.

“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.

“We have structures in place and everyone is working together”.

Feedback: leonec@fijisun.com.fj



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