Cane: All Blacks senior players, assistant coaches stepping up

All Blacks skipper Sam Cane is adamant the Covid outbreak within the squad hasn't disrupted their preparations for Saturday's opening test against Ireland.

The home team were dealt more disruption on Tuesday ahead of the sold out game at Eden Park.

Star outside back Will Jordan became the latest to test positive for the virus, going into isolation alongside midfielders David Havili and Jack Goodhue, plus head coach Ian Foster and assistants John Plumtree and Scott McLeod.

Hardly ideal going into your first test of the year, against a very good team.

But Cane insisted the squad was rolling with the punches.

"The team has been really impressive to be honest. Maybe it's because we're so used to it throughout Super Rugby every team had so many things to deal with.

"Obviously it's not ideal but in terms of disruptiveness, surprisingly there hasn't been too much at all. We've got a really experienced leadership group and one that I trust immensely.

"In the forward pack there's guys like Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock who have taken charge of things there and Beauden Barrett runs a pretty good cutter out the back so guys are stepping up."

Some stepping up, others stepping in.

Originally not set to join the All Blacks as a selector and analyst until after the Ireland series, Joe Schmidt had been called in to help out at training.

It added an intriguing element to the build-up to this first test.

Schmidt coached the Irish side from 2013-19 and had great success, including a maiden win over New Zealand and three Six Nations crowns.

For his part, Cane was happy to have him around.

"How lucky are we to be able to call on someone like Joe Schmidt? It's been awesome.

"He'll only be in Tuesday-Thursday to help out on the training park. He's helping with defence predominantly but it's nice to have some wise eyes looking over things."

One player he wasn't looking over on Tuesday was Richie Mo'unga.

The Crusaders first-five missed training with a stomach bug, although he was expected to be OK for Saturday's match.

As for the ongoing absence of Foster and assistant coaches John Plumtree and Scott McLeod, Cane said the trio were steering clear of trying to control too much from afar.

"[They] will zoom in but won't have any input.

"They're there to keep an eye on things, but it's hard to get a feel and coach when you're not in the room itself.

"We all agree it's best to allow people who are here to steer the ship but we know they're working hard behind the scenes, looking at footage, having little one-on-ones with guys .... to make sure they can help out where they can, without being disruptive."

Avoiding anymore of that would be handy.

The All Blacks team to play Ireland would be named on Thursday.