All Blacks manager Ian Foster is self-isolating at home after testing positive for Covid-19 ahead of the first test in Ireland.
The All Blacks were thrown into a Covid free fall with their top two coaches and two midfielders battered by the virus the week of July’s opening Test against Ireland.
The team announced on Monday that head coach Ian Foster and assistant coach John Plumtree had both tested positive for Covid-19 and were isolating at home.
Midfielders David Havili and Jack Goodhue have also tested positive, the All Blacks have announced, and were not with the Auckland squad either.
Crusaders center Braydon Ennor has joined the Auckland side as a replacement.
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The defections are a blow for the All Blacks as they prepare for the first Test against Ireland at a sold-out Eden Park on Saturday.
The New Zealanders built a camp at Northland last week but the loss of their two most experienced coaches threatens to upend their preparations.
The loss of likely first-choice No.12 Havili and Goodhue is less of a blow, with plenty of midfield options within the squad.
Chiefs improver Quinn Tupaea now looms as a likely second-fifth starter for the opening Test in Ireland, with newcomer Roger Tuivasa-Sheck the other option.
Blues star Rieko Ioane was the starter nailed down to No. 13, with Goodhue seen as a bench prospect at best.
It’s unclear at this stage if any other All Blacks players are affected by the untimely positive tests.