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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Ireland squad hit with Covid-19 scare

ART GALLERY

The IRFU are carrying out additional testing on the squad member involved
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin Date: Saturday, 13 November Kick-off: 15:15 GMT
Coverage: Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website.

Ireland have reported a “potential positive case” of Covid-19 in the squad a day before the Autumn Nations Series match against New Zealand.

The IRFU released a statement on Friday stating that “additional testing is being undertaken to establish if this is a false positive”.

The squad and management underwent additional lateral flow and PCR tests.

“The lateral flow testing returned no positives and the PCR results are expected later today [Friday].”

Speaking on Friday afternoon, defence coach Simon Easterby said that while no players had been ruled out until the PCR test results were returned, back-up players had been put on standby should positive cases be confirmed.

“We’ve got to make sure that we give those guys an opportunity, in respect of them, that we allow that process to happen,” Easterby said.

“These challenges are part and parcel of the games these days. The important thing is that we stay focused and we don’t allow the little things that happen to derail us.”

Ireland clinched a first victory over the All Blacks when they won in Chicago in 2016 and repeated that feat in Dublin two years later but the last meeting between the countries saw New Zealand earn a thumping 46-14 World Cup quarter-final win in 2019.

Saturday’s hosts had a captain’s run at the Aviva Stadium on Friday, with Easterby confirming there was no danger of the fixture being called off due to the potential cases.

“If it wasn’t challenging enough, it gets more challenging when you’re dealt with things outside of your control,” he said.

“I guess that’s part of the challenge. The game certainly won’t run our way and it won’t run smoothly all the time.

“Our ability to adapt and make sure that we still get onto the front foot – we did that today [in the captain’s run].”

The Irish started the Autumn Nations Series with an impressive 60-5 victory over Japan last weekend.

Andy Farrell’s team complete the series against Argentina at the Dublin venue on 21 November.

England loose-head prop Ellis Genge will miss Saturday encounter with Australia after testing positive for Covid-19.

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