Ireland coach has returned to New Zealand after a family bereavement but will return for the World Cup warm-up game against Italy.

Assistant coach took charge of training on Monday and Tuesday in his absence and will guide the team run on Thursday morning.

Scrum coach Greg Feek said Schmidt is expected to return towards the end of the week ahead of Saturday’s match.

Feek added Ireland have no fresh injury concerns for their first warm-up match.

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

“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.”

Fellow assistants Simon Easterby and Richie Murphy are joining Farrell and Feek in overseeing the Ireland squad training at Carton House in Maynooth while Schmidt is in New Zealand.

Ireland’s encounter with the Italians in Dublin is the first of four World Cup warm-up games.

They will face England at Twickenham on 24 August, Wales in Cardiff on 31 August and then the Welsh again at the Aviva Stadium on 7 September.


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