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Andy Farrell plays down stand-in coach Joe Schmidt’s importance to All Blacks

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Head coach Andy Farrell during a media conference after Ireland training at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Head coach Andy Farrell during a media conference after Ireland training at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Head coach Andy Farrell during a media conference after Ireland training at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell insists he is not surprised that the All Blacks have called on the services of Joe Schmidt ahead of Saturday’s first Test.

However, Farrell has downplayed the impact that his former boss is likely to have in such a short space of time, after he was drafted into the New Zealand coaching ticket to offset the loss of head coach Ian Foster and his assistants John Plumtree and Scott McLeod – all of whom tested positive for Covid.

“If you’re a couple of coaches down and you’ve got Joe Schmidt on your doorstep, he’d certainly be the first port of call wouldn’t he? Definitely,” Farrell said.

Schmidt, who spent six years coaching Ireland, oversaw the All Blacks’ training yesterday and is due to do so again tomorrow, as preparations continue for this weekend’s showdown at Eden Park

“Look, I think we can overplay it a little bit,” Farrell insisted. “I think he’s in there maybe Tuesday, Thursday and I don’t know if he’s going to be there at the weekend. Ian Foster’s the boss, John Plumtree will have an input with the forwards, so I’m sure everyone’s under instruction.

“I’ve been an assistant coach myself, you assist and you follow the head coach’s rules, so that’s the way of the world. He’s not playing! He’s not taking the field is he, you know.

“I’ve absolutely no doubt the All Blacks are coming up with something a little bit different. You’ve got to be adaptable.  

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“Whether Joe has an input on that or not, that’s always the way of coaching anyway, to make sure that you’re across everything. I am supposed to be meeting him for a coffee on Thursday. I don’t know whether that’s out of the question or not, but we’ll soon see.”

Ireland have been dealt a major blow with Iain Henderson now ruled out of the tour due to a knee injury he picked up in training on Saturday.

The All Black camp has also been rocked with further Covid setbacks after key winger Will Jordan became the latest member of the squad to test positive.


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