Ireland escapes COVID curse
NEWS UPDATE: Ireland has avoided making any late changes to their team for Saturday’ Test against New Zealand, despite a COVID-19 scare.
PCR testing carried out on Friday of the squad and management team has produced no positive COVID results – despite earlier results that produced a ‘false positive’.
“The player in question and an identified close contact were immediately isolated from the remainder of the group when the issue arose and lateral flow and PCR testing of the entire squad and management was carried out,” an Irish statement said.
“The individual who produced a positive test has subsequently had two PCR tests at two separate labs, returning negative results on both.
“The player and the identified close contact have been cleared by public health and the tournament organisers to take their places in the matchday squad.”
The Ireland squad will line up on Saturday as named earlier this week.
England captain Owen Farrell was ruled out of playing Tonga last Saturday due to what turned out to be a false positive test.
Ireland assistant coach Simon Easterby said earlier on Friday the drama had not disrupted the rest of the squad.
“These things are outside our control but it tests our ability to adapt and get on the front foot and we did that today despite a couple of potholes in the road. We had a really good run out,” said Easterby.
Easterby said they would refuse to allow this to unsettle their focus on securing a third win over the All Blacks in the past five years.
“These challenges are part and parcel of the game, we are not the only team who have had to cope with it over the past few weeks.
“We will not let it derail us and we will focus on the game.”