Rugby: All Blacks confident of Wales test going ahead despite Willis Halaholo testing positive for COVID-19

The All Blacks are confident that Sunday morning's test against Wales will still go ahead, despite Welsh centre Willis Halaholo having tested positive for COVID-19.

As Wales experiences another wave of COVID-19, Auckland-born Halaholo has been denied the chance to face the All Blacks, after returning a positive test and leaving the squad completely.

The entire Wales camp will need to return negative tests, if they're to play Sunday morning's test at Cardiff.

Wales is currently recording daily new COVID-19 case numbers in the thousands, but will allow for full capacity to attend on Sunday, with Principality Stadium sold out.

Despite the news of Halaholo's positive test, All Blacks assistant coach John Plumtree says preparation is "business as usual".

"We've heard the news and only probably know as much as you at this stage," he says. "There will be all sorts of talk around the game, is it in jeopardy?

"As we understand right now, the player that's been tested with COVID will drop out of the environment. They'll all get tested and they'll all have to be negative to play on the weekend.

"For us, we all got tested last night and haven't had any results yet, but for us, it's just business as usual."

Plumtree is particularly sympathetic to Halaholo's withdrawal, after working with the midfielder during his time in Super Rugby with the Hurricanes.

"It's very sad news for Willis, I'm sure he would have been excited about playing the All Blacks.

"[He's] a quality player, and [it's] very sad for him and his family."

But Halaholo's positive test is just one of many realities of playing test rugby during a global pandemic.

The All Blacks are currently away from home for a tour of 76 days between the opening test against Australia in Perth and the last against France in Paris on November 21.

When travel and managed isolation quarantine (MIQ) are factored into the equation, the All Blacks will spend close to three months on the road, living out of suitcases.

Plumtree commends the All Blacks squad for how they're handling themselves one of their most trying tours.

"We understand the risk, coming from Washington, where the risk is a bit lower, but we were still in the same bubble.

"Here, with the amount of cases per day, the players understand the risk that's involved and certainly they're heightened to it.

"The boys have been very good, and the management put some really good things in place for us to try and keep everyone a little bit sane. It's way out of what we are used to doing when we're on tour, certainly in any rugby environment that I've been in.

"There are little challenges along the way, it's our 11th week away. This is a real endurance battle, mentally, but if you came into our environment and saw how the players are coping, you'd admire them.

"They're all sticking really tight and understand the importance of just being grateful we can play on the world stage right now in these types of conditions."

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