Joe Schmidt will help New Zealand prepare for the first Test against Ireland at Eden Park on Saturday after head coach Ian Foster and two of his assistants tested positive for COVID-19.

Foster and assistant coach John Plumtree tested positive for coronavirus at the weekend and Scott McLeod is the latest coach to contract the virus.

Former Ireland head coach Schmidt will work with the New Zealand squad this week in the absence of that trio.

Centres David Havili and Jack Goodhue have also tested positive for COVID-19, so Braydon Ennor has been called up to join the squad in Auckland.

Foster said: "Joe will come in for Tuesday and Thursday's training this week, and we're really grateful to have his help.

"We've planned for this kind of disruption and we've got back-up plans and people on standby.  Joe was one of those people we could call on."

Foster added: "I've got every confidence in our coaching group, and in our senior leaders who are all stepping up in what’s a massive test for us.

"Everyone has had to deal with these kinds of disruptions over the past couple of years. This is a real opportunity for the coaching group and team to pull together."

Former Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has agreed to replace Grant Fox as an independent New Zealand selector.

Fox will step down from the role after the Steinlager Series next year, having been a selector for a decade.

Schmidt will take up his position with the All Blacks and assist in selecting the squad for the Rugby Championship after finishing his part-time duties working with the Blues in the Super Rugby Pacific competition.

New Zealand head coach Ian Foster said Schmidt is a shrewd appointment.

Foster said: "Joe will bring a wealth of New Zealand and international experience into the role, so we are delighted to have him join us.

"He will work closely with me and ‘Plums’ [ fellow selector John Plumtree] on selections but his insights will be valuable in other areas as well, so we look forward to having him join us."

The experienced Schmidt said: "It's humbling to be involved and I'm looking forward to learning more about the players and the All Blacks environment and helping out as best I can."

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