Joe Schmidt will help New Zealand prepare for the first Test against Ireland at Eden Park on Saturday after head coach Ian Foster and two of his assistants tested positive for COVID-19.

Foster and assistant coach John Plumtree tested positive for coronavirus at the weekend and Scott McLeod is the latest coach to contract the virus.

Former Ireland head coach Schmidt will work with the New Zealand squad this week in the absence of that trio.

Centres David Havili and Jack Goodhue have also tested positive for COVID-19, so Braydon Ennor has been called up to join the squad in Auckland.

Foster said: "Joe will come in for Tuesday and Thursday's training this week, and we're really grateful to have his help.

"We've planned for this kind of disruption and we've got back-up plans and people on standby.  Joe was one of those people we could call on."

Foster added: "I've got every confidence in our coaching group, and in our senior leaders who are all stepping up in what’s a massive test for us.

"Everyone has had to deal with these kinds of disruptions over the past couple of years. This is a real opportunity for the coaching group and team to pull together."

Rohit Sharma has tested positive for COVID-19, less than a week before India's rescheduled Test match against England.

The India captain had been taking part in his team's warm-up game against Leicestershire, scoring 25 in the first innings but not batting in the second.

However, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) confirmed on Saturday that Rohit had tested positive for COVID-19 and is in isolation.

"Team India captain Mr Rohit Sharma has tested positive for COVID-19 following a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) conducted on Saturday," a statement read. 

"He is currently in isolation at the team hotel and is under the care of the BCCI Medical Team."

Rohit has averaged 30.00 from three Test innings in 2022, having averaged 47.68 from 21 innings last year.

The Test match with England, which gets underway at Edgbaston on Friday, is the rescheduled fifth Test from September 2021.

Ben Foakes has been withdrawn for the remainder of England's third Test against New Zealand after testing positive for COVID-19.

Wicketkeeper Foakes was not on the field at Headingley on Saturday due to back stiffness, with Jonny Bairstow taking over the gloves for New Zealand's second innings.

However, the England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed on Sunday that while undergoing further medical assessment, Foakes had tested positive after administering a COVID-19 lateral flow test.

The 29-year-old has only recently returned to the England set-up, and has averaged 35.66 runs with the bat from five innings in the New Zealand series.

An ECB statement read: "Details of [Foakes'] return to the England set-up will be announced in due course. However, it is hoped he will be fit for the LV= Insurance Test against India starting next Friday at Edgbaston.

"Kent wicketkeeper/batter Sam Billings, subject to ICC approval, has been drafted in as a like-for-like COVID replacement and will go straight into the XI when the fourth day gets underway from 11.00am today. He will keep wicket. 

"The rest of the England party follows health protocols of symptom reporting and subsequent testing if required. There are no other positive cases in the camp."

England have already secured the three-Test series with New Zealand after winning the first two, and ended day three 137 runs behind with five more Black Caps wickets remaining.

Novak Djokovic has accepted it is unlikely he will play at the US Open, as the Wimbledon top seed insisted he has not changed his mind on the COVID-19 vaccination.

Djokovic was unable to compete at the Australian Open earlier in 2022 after he was deported – following a drawn-out legal case with Australia's federal government – for not being vaccinated against coronavirus.

The Serbian has spoken out against mandatory vaccinations and when asked on Saturday by reporters at Wimbledon if he had closed his mind to the idea of being vaccinated before the US Open begins, he said "yes".

That means, as it stands, Djokovic will be unable to enter the United States due to being unvaccinated.

However, while frustrated that he will likely miss out on another grand slam this year, the 35-year-old suggested he is now even more motivated to go on and win Wimbledon for a seventh time, which would take him level with Pete Sampras and behind only Roger Federer, who has eight All England Club titles to his name.

Djokovic told reporters: "As of today I'm not allowed to enter the States under these circumstances. That is an extra motivation to do well here.

"Hopefully I can have a very good tournament as I have done in the last three editions. Then I'll have to wait and see.

"I'd love to go to the States but as of today that's not possible. There's not much I can do any more. It's up to the U.S. government on whether they allow unvaccinated people to go into the country."

Djokovic was at the centre of the controversy ahead of the season's first major, but the third grand slam of 2022 has been contentious for other reasons.

The All England Club made the decision to ban all Russian and Belarusian players, including men's world number one Daniil Medvedev, from competing, due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The call received criticism and, as a result, Wimbledon has been stripped of any ranking points by the WTA and ATP.

However, Djokovic is no longer as concerned about those points as he once was, as he instead looks to move back to within one major title of Rafael Nadal, whose tally stands at 22.

"I don't want to say ranking points are not important for me, of course they are, but they are not as important as they were for me," he said.

"Now I'm not really chasing the ranking as much as I have. I was breaking the record for longest weeks at number one and after that it wasn't as important for me in terms of priority.

"Of course, I understand that 90 per cent of players will be more affected by the points. Of course this year I did not have the chance to defend 4,000 points in Australia but my priorities now are different so I’m not as affected."

Djokovic, though, does feel it is harsh that Russian and Belarusian athletes are unable to play at SW19.

He said: "I just don't see how they have contributed to anything that has happened. I don't feel it’s fair. 

"I feel like they deserve to win, compete, they are professional athletes. None of them have supported any war or anything like that. 

"I understand both sides. It's hard to say what is right and wrong. Putting myself in a position where someone would ban me from playing because of circumstances that I have not contributed – I do not think that is fair."

Jonny May has tested positive for coronavirus just eight days before the first Test between England and Australia, leaving the winger's availability uncertain.

May was named as part of Eddie Jones' 36-man touring squad for the three-Test series, which starts on July 2 in Perth.

The 32-year-old has played 69 times for England but could struggle to feature in the opening Test, with May having to spend seven days in isolation as local regulations in Australia stipulate.

May, who is England's second top try scorer in history, missed the Six Nations after undergoing knee surgery in January, making his international comeback in the 52-21 thrashing to the Barbarians last Sunday.

Head coach Jones could be without his star winger but refused to rule him out ahead of the clash with the Wallabies.

"We're not going to rule Jonny May out at this stage. We'll just see how he is," Jones said on Friday.

"Potentially he'll be available next Thursday to train, so we'll have a look to see what he's like because he's experienced and he's showed in his first game back against the Barbarians that he's lacking game time and that he's got his best rugby ahead of him.

"We'll just monitor his situation and make an assessment closer to the day when he gets out."

Peter Sagan has seen his Tour de France preparations take a hit after testing positive for COVID-19 less than two weeks before the start of the race.

Seven-time Tour de France green jersey winner Sagan was forced to abandon the Tour de Suisse on Saturday due to a third positive coronavirus test in 18 months.

The Slovakian, who holds the record for the most points classification victories in the Tour de France (seven), took to Twitter to announce he had contracted the virus on Sunday.

"Yesterday, Saturday, after the finish of stage seven of the Tour de Suisse, I was given a COVID-19 test by the Team TotalEnergies doctor," he wrote.

"Unfortunately, it came out positive. I have no symptoms, and I feel well but I have to abandon the race. I thank you for your support and I will keep you posted."

Sagan becomes the latest name in a growing list of riders to contract the virus, with INEOS Grenadiers' Tom Pidcock and Bora-Hansgrohe's Aleksandr Vlasov also testing positive for COVID-19.

Vlasov was leading the Tour de Suisse at the time of his withdrawal, while Mikkel Bjerg – team-mate of two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar – withdrew from the Tour of Slovenia due to coronavirus.

Sagan will hope to recover in time for the start of the Tour de France in Copenhagen on July 1, having ended a 13-month winless drought with his sprint victory at stage three in Grenchen earlier this week.

Devon Conway is the latest member of the New Zealand squad to test positive for coronavirus.

The batter discovered he has contracted COVID-19 after taking a PCR test on arrival in London ahead of a team activity on Wednesday and will spend five days in isolation.

All-rounder Michael Bracewell has also tested positive following the Black Caps' defeat to England in the second Test at Trent Bridge on Tuesday.

New Zealand physio Vijay Vallabh and strength and conditioning coach Chris Donaldson have also returned positive tests.

The tourists have no plans to call up replacements ahead of the third and final match of the Test series, which starts at Headingley next Thursday.

England won the series by chasing down a target of 299 to win by five wickets at Trent Bridge, Jonny Bairstow scoring a magnificent century.

Captain Kane Williamson was ruled out of the second Test in Nottingham after testing positive for coronavirus.

 

Head coach Andrew McDonald will miss the start of Australia's tour of Sri Lanka after testing positive for coronavirus.

McDonald was unable to fly out with the rest of the touring party on Wednesday after returning a positive test on Tuesday.

Michael Di Venuto will coach the Twenty20 team in the absence of McDonald, who must spend a week in isolation.

A three-match T20 series gets under way in Colombo next Tuesday.

Sri Lanka and Australia will then play five ODIs this month before a two-match Test series in Galle.

Australia have not been in action since McDonald was appointed as Justin Langer's successor on a four-year deal.

Novak Djokovic will be able to defend his Wimbledon title this year as players will not need to be vaccinated against coronavirus to feature in the tournament.

World number one Djokovic was unable to compete in the 2022 Australian Open after he was deported from the country in January.

The Australian government cancelled the Serbian's visa on "health and good order" grounds and he failed with an attempt to overturn that decision in court.

Djokovic will be able to play in the grass-court grand slam at the All England Club, though, due to a lack of COVID-19 restrictions in the United Kingdom.

All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) chief executive Sally Bolton said during a media briefing on Tuesday: "As you will be aware, the requirements set up by the government to enter the UK do not include mandatory vaccinations.

"Therefore, whilst of course it is encouraged, it will not be a condition of entry in order to compete in the Championships this year."

Djokovic can also play in the French Open following the easing of restrictions.

There will be no Russian or Belarusian players when Wimbledon is staged from June 27 to July 10 at SW19 due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The Indian Premier League clash between Delhi and Punjab Kings was cleared to go ahead as scheduled on Wednesday despite a sixth coronavirus case in the Capitals camp.

New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Seifert became the latest Capitals player to return a positive test on the day of the match at Brabourne – CC.

Delhi had on Monday revealed that Australia all-rounder Mitchell Marsh had contracted COVID-19.

Tournament organisers gave the green light for the game against the Kings to be staged after the second round of tests all came back as negative.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) also announced that the Capitals' showdown with Rajasthan Royals on Friday has been moved from MCA Stadium in Pune to Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

That decision was made as a precautionary measure following Seifert's positive test.

Dominic Thiem is ready to "get back on track" after testing negative for coronavirus.

The luckless Austrian revealed he had contracted COVID-19 after making a long-awaited return in the Andalucia Open Challenger Tour event last week.

Thiem has not played on the ATP Tour since last June, missing Wimbledon and the US Open in 2021 after undergoing wrist surgery.

The 2020 US Open champion, who was beaten by Pedro Cachin on his comeback in Marbella, on Thursday stated that he is now COVID-free.

"A short update: I am finally negative and I feel much better! Thank you for all your messages! I really appreciate it!" he tweeted.

"I'm going to have a medical check-up, so I can get back on track!"

Thiem has reportedly pulled out of the Monte Carlo Masters this week, but his return to the ATP Tour should be imminent with the French Open on the horizon next month.

Luuk de Jong will miss Barcelona's clash with his parent club Sevilla on Sunday after testing positive for coronavirus.

Barca revealed on the eve of the LaLiga encounter at Camp Nou that the Netherlands international had contracted COVID-19, but is in good health.

The 31-year-old has been an unused substitute in the in-form Blaugrana's past three matches.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has established himself as Barca's first-choice striker following his arrival from Arsenal in January, scoring nine goals in 11 appearances.

De Jong has found the back of the net six times in 22 games for the Catalan giants since making a season-long loan move from Sevilla.

Barca will move above Sevilla in second spot on goal difference if they extend their winning streak in LaLiga to six matches on Sunday.

Sebastian Vettel has been declared "fit to race" after missing the first two grands prix of the season due to COVID-19, Aston Martin said on Thursday.

It means the four-time champion can head to Melbourne for next week's Australian Grand Prix and look to put points on the board for the struggling team.

Aston Martin have failed to score in the opening races in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, with Nico Hulkenberg stepping in as Vettel's replacement.

Hulkenberg will step aside to allow Vettel to partner Lance Stroll for the April 8-10 race weekend.

Aston Martin said on Twitter: "We are pleased to confirm that Sebastian Vettel is now fit to race and will therefore line up alongside Lance Stroll in Melbourne to kick off his 2022 F1 season at the Australian Grand Prix."

The team are eager to get off the mark after their slow start, and Stroll said after the Saudi disappointment, where he finished 13th and Hulkenberg took 12th place: "There is still a long season ahead of us, so we will keep working hard to find more performance in the car for the coming races."

Vettel, 34, won his world titles consecutively from 2010 to 2013, and he joined Aston Martin ahead of the 2021 season.

Dominic Thiem's bad luck continued as the former world number three confirmed he has tested positive for COVID-19.

Thiem only made his return to action on Tuesday, having not featured on the ATP Tour since June last year.

The Austrian underwent surgery on a wrist injury that kept him out of Wimbledon and also prevented him from defending his US Open title, while he also missed this year's Australian Open.

Having opted to push back his comeback further by skipping Indian Wells and the Miami Open, Thiem instead decided to play at the Challenger Tour's Andalucia Open.

His return was short-lived, as Thiem went down 6-3 6-4 to Pedro Cachin.

And Thiem will now face another spell out, after revealing he has contracted coronavirus.

"Looks like lately the good news don't last long... last night after dinner, I started feeling unwell and didn't have a good night," Thiem wrote on his official Instagram account.

"After developing mild symptoms I decided to take a test this morning, which came back positive for COVID-19.

"Now I have to wait and see how it develops. I'll keep you posted. Thank you all in advance for your support!"

Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti has tested positive for COVID-19.

The 62-year-old's diagnosis was confirmed by the club on Wednesday and he will now miss Los Blancos' LaLiga clash at Celta Vigo on Saturday.

Ancelotti could also be absent from the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final with former club Chelsea at Stamford Bridge next week.

The Italian coach's son and assistant, Davide, is expected to take charge of the team in his father's absence.

A statement on the club's website simply read: "Real Madrid confirm that our coach Carlo Ancelotti has tested positive for COVID-19."

Madrid will be looking to bounce back at the weekend having been humbled 4-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu by rivals Barcelona in their last outing before the international break.

Despite that setback, they remain clear at the top of LaLiga, nine points ahead of second-placed Sevilla.

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