Mack Hansen tests positive for Covid-19 as Rob Herring and Iain Henderson pick up knocks

Niall Scannell called up to provide cover at hooker

An IRFU statement has revealed that mack Hansen has tested positive for Covid and has been isolated from the rest of the squad, thus also ruling him out of Saturday’s First Test.

Bringing only three specialist hookers, as well as the same number of loose-heads and tight-heads, for a five-match tour to New Zealand always appeared a tad threadbare and so it has to come pass, with Niall Scannell being added to the Irish squad and due to arrive in Auckland on Tuesday.

This is in light of Rob Herring picking up an unspecified knock in training, as is the case with Iain Henderson. Pending the results of scans, this seems sure to rule both Ulster players out of consideration for at least Wednesday’s tour opener against the Maori All Blacks in Hamilton and Saturday’s First Test in Auckland.

Following on from the loss of Ronan Kelleher for this tour, it would also appear as if the Irish management have little option but to start Dave Heffernan against the Maoris, with Dan Sheehan on the bench.

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley is Rugby Correspondent of The Irish Times