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COVID forces late change to Ireland team for All Blacks test

Replacement prop Finlay Bealham has been ruled out of the Ireland team for Saturday's series opener against New Zealand in Auckland after testing positive for COVID-19.

Tighthead Tom O'Toole has been brought onto the bench with Cian Healy changing shirts to take up the more familiar role as replacement for loosehead prop Andrew Porter.

Healy, who can play on both sides of the front row, was also a doubt after suffering what looked like a serious leg injury in the 32-17 loss to New Zealand Maori on Wednesday.

Loosehead prop Jeremy Loughman was not available for selection after suffering a head knock early in the Maori match.

Bealham is the second player in the Irish squad to test positive for COVID on the tour, after outside back Mack Hansen.

New Zealand had six members of their camp - three coaches and three players - forced into isolation this week after positive tests for the virus.

Source: Reuters


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