Joe Schmidt returns to New Zea...

Rugby

Joe Schmidt returns to New Zealand due to family bereavement


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Ireland's scrum-coach Greg Feek has confirmed that head-coach Joe Schmidt has departed their training camp to go back to New Zealand due to a family bereavement.
Schmidt is expected back towards the end of the week and Andy Farrell has taken the reins in his absence.

"Unfortunately, Joe Schmidt had to go back to New Zealand after a family bereavement. On behalf of the team of the team we’d like to extend condolences to his family," Feek said.

"He’ll be back towards the end of the week.

"Joe’s had things in place, players know their roles. It’s been quite seamless. We know Joe is on the computer and keeping an eye on things. We have to keep going.

"Andy is taking the reins and he’s doing a good job to be fair to him."

Feek added that Johnny Sexton is fit to face the Azzurri at the Aviva Stadium and that Ireland have no fresh injury concerns ahead of the clash with Conor O'Shea's side.

“Things are looking pretty good at the moment. I saw Johnny and he gave me the thumbs up, so obviously he’s looking good. Apart from that, we’re hopefully looking pretty good at the weekend.”

“We’re just picking a team we feel is this best for this week. Some guys might get an opportunity to get their chance now, but it has no relevance of importance whether it’s now or the other three games coming up.

"At this stage, we’re just going to wait and see how we get through the game. There’s no point releasing someone and then maybe getting a bit of a niggle after the game. At this stage, it’s just week-by-week and giving guys opportunity as well.”

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