27 Jun 2022

Covid strikes All Blacks with Foster set to miss first test against Ireland

11:33 am on 27 June 2022

The All Blacks will be without coach Ian Foster and at least two frontline players for this weekend's first test against Ireland as a Covid outbreak hits the squad.

All Blacks coaches Ian Foster and John Plumtree.

Ian Foster and John Plumtree Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Head coach Foster, assistant coach John Plumtree and midfielders David Havili and Jack Goodhue, both from the Crusaders, have all tested positive for the virus.

The quartet are isolating and won't re-join the team before Saturday's test at a sold out Eden Park.

With Foster and Plumtree out, assistants Scott McLeod, Greg Feek and Brad Mooar are set to take charge of the hands on running of the team.

Foster said he's confident in the team's ability to carry on preparing for the first test, full steam ahead.

"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."

"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."

The Crusaders midfielder Braydon Ennor has joined the squad.

It's far from ideal for the All Blacks, who often start slowly in their first test of the year, and are desperate to win this weekend, after being defeated by Ireland in Dublin last November.

The 36-man All Blacks spent last week in camp in Northland before relocating to Auckland ahead of the opening test.