Three coaches and two players struck down with Covid. Former Ireland coach Joe Schmidt answering an SOS to help man the helm against his former team. The test season could hardly have started on a more dramatic note for the All Blacks – and we are still five days out from kickoff at a sold-out Eden Park.
Disruptive turbulence first hit the All Blacks when head coach Ian Foster and forwards coach John Plumtree went into home isolation last weekend, and Crusaders midfielders David Havili and Jack Goodhue did not travel to join the squad in Auckland after catching the virus.
Defence coach Scott McLeod was the latest to test positive on Monday leaving the All Blacks with two healthy coaches, Brad Mooar and Greg Feek, left standing. That turn of events sparked Schmidt's early call up.
After assisting the Blues this year Schmidt was not due to start his selector/analyst role with the All Blacks until the Rugby Championship. He will instead now step into the breach to attend team trainings this week.
Schmidt coached Ireland from 2013-19 – a seven-year period that included their first win and maiden home victory against the All Blacks – before returning home last year. His intimate knowledge of Ireland's senior players and management - Irish head coach Andy Farrell was his assistant - is sure to provide valuable insight.
Mooar, the All Blacks attack coach, is thrust into projecting calm amid the internal scrambling behind the scenes.
"We need hands on the ground and that's a wonderful resource. Who better to have than Joe to come in and cast an eye over a bit of detail and put his shoulder to the wheel for us," Mooar said.
"I'm confident with the machine around us and the way it's set up we won't miss a beat.
"It's disappointing for Foz, Plum, Jack, Dave and now Scott who have been looking forward to this week for a long time and now won't be able to be on the ground.
"We're seamless. It's not an unforeseen event. Covid has been around us for a couple of years now and we've planned for what will happen in these types of situations."
Practically Foster and Plumtree will zoom in for morning and evening coaching meetings and, together with fellow selector Grant Fox, they will pick this week's revamped squad.
On the ground, though, Mooar will take charge of trainings, with scrum coach Feek assuming greater responsibility for the forward pack and Schmidt adding his nous.
At this stage, Foster and Plumtree remain possibilities to attend Saturday's test.
"They're a chance and that's something they'll work through with the doctor as to what the timing is of their first symptoms and the tests so we'll look at the at the end of the week," Mooar said.
"Foz is the head coach and remains so. How that looks at the end of the week we'll deal with that once we get past the beginning of the week. Those things will bubble away."
From a selection perspective Havili was expected to start at second five-eighth alongside Rieko Ioane in the All Blacks midfield.
Quinn Tupaea is likely to now benefit from Havili and Goodhue's respective absences after a strong season for the Chiefs at second-five.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck looms as potential bench cover for this test debut, although the All Blacks have called in Crusaders centre Braydon Ennor and could prefer fellow rookie Leicester Fainga'anuku.
Among their Covid complications the All Blacks are also sweating on injuries to Jordie Barrett (knee) and Aaron Smith (groin).
"The way the team is set up there's a huge amount of trust amongst everybody to do their job and what it looks like if you're not available. We've got wonderful leaders, outstanding management and we will put the week together no differently to any other situation.
"It's not ideal, we can accept and be honest with that, but we've planned for it and it's focus on the job at hand.
"We're getting ready for a huge exciting challenge and we need to put the pieces together to perform on Saturday night."