Joe Schmidt rushes back to New Zealand after family bereavement

Joe Schmidt has returned to New Zealand due to a family bereavement.

However, the Ireland head coach is expected to link up with the squad in time for the opening World Cup warm-up game against Italy at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

In the meantime, his assistant coach and heir apparent, Andy Farrell, has taken charge of training at the squad’s base in Carton House in Kildare.

“Unfortunately, Joe had to go back to New Zealand due to a family bereavement,” scrum coach Greg Feek explained this afternoon.

“On behalf of the team, I’d like to pass on our condolences to Joe and his wider family.

“Joe has things in place and that includes the management, particularly the coaches and the players know they’re roles. It has been quite seamless in that sense and we all know Joe is on the computer keeping an eye on things as well.

“That’s the environment we’re in, we’ve got to keep going and prepare for a really important Test match this week. Andy has taken the reins and has doing quite a good job to be fair to him.”

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