ABs captain addresses Covid-19 scare in Irish camp

Author
Christopher Reive, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 13 Nov 2021, 10:22AM
Sam Whitelock. (Photo / Photosport)
Sam Whitelock. (Photo / Photosport)

ABs captain addresses Covid-19 scare in Irish camp

Author
Christopher Reive, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 13 Nov 2021, 10:22AM

With a "potential positive case" of Covid-19 in the Irish rugby team camp, All Blacks captain Samuel Whitelock says nothing changes for his side ahead of their test in Dublin Sunday morning. 

The Ireland Rugby Football union (IRFU) released a statement early on Saturday NZT revealing the potential case, with additional testing undertaken to establish if the test result could be a false positive. In the meantime, the rest of the squad and team management have been tested for Covid-19. 

Speaking to media from Dublin on Saturday morning, Whitelock addressed the situation and said with the side being under their bubble protocol all tour, it didn't change too much for them. 

"It's something that we're aware of and when we get more information we can tell the boys. But at the moment, it is where it is," Whitelock said. 

"What it potentially does change is a little bit around pre-game. I think we've got to meet the ref out on the field rather than in the changing rooms – a couple of little things like that, but it's something we've dealt with before. You just have to roll with it a little bit. 

"Once the whistle goes it's a normal test match, the field is the same size, the same amount of time etc. It's just something we have to adapt with as it goes. I think the main thing is we just hope the players that tested positive, that they're healthy and they don't get too sick." 

For the Ireland squad, assistant coach Simon Easterby said that while no players had been ruled out at present, back-up players had been put on standby should any positive cases be confirmed. He also confirmed the news would not force the fixture to be called off but was unnerving for the Irish squad. 

The test on Sunday morning (NZ time) will be the first meeting between the two nations since their Rugby World Cup quarterfinal in Japan in 2019. On that occasion, the All Blacks were too good for their Irish counterparts, running in seven tries to two on their way to an impressive 46-14 win. 

However, the ledger is square between the two sides over their last four meetings – dating back to November 2016. The two tests won by Ireland in that time are their only victories over the All Blacks.