As coaches and troops continue to drop around him, All Blacks captain Sam Cane maintains this week's steadfast theme of brushing off the snowballing Covid disruptions.
Crusaders fullback Will Jordan was the latest to be struck down on Tuesday - a timeframe that could exclude him until the third Irish test in Wellington on July 16.
Jordan's absence increases the All Blacks Covid cases to six after head coach Ian Foster, forwards coach John Plumtree and defence mentor Scott McLeod, as well as Crusaders midfielders David Havili and Jack Goodhue were ruled out earlier this week.
Jordan was expected to start on the right wing in Saturday's opening Test against Ireland at a sold-out Eden Park. His absence is likely to open the door for either Crusaders teammates Sevu Reece or Leicester Fainga'anuku, the latter on debut, to start.
Crusaders first five-eighth Richie Mo'unga was also absent from Tuesday training with a tummy bug. Mo'unga may recover in time but, if not, Blues playmaker Stephen Perofeta could be called in for his Test debut off the bench.
Despite these seemingly constant setbacks Cane remains unperturbed, suggesting assistant coaches and senior players had stepped into the breach to keep the team largely functioning as it usually would.
"The team has been really impressive to be honest," Cane said. "Maybe it's because we're so used to it throughout Super Rugby every team had so many things to deal with. We've been rolling with the punches. Obviously it's not ideal but in terms of disruptiveness, surprisingly there hasn't been too much at all.
"We've got a really experienced leadership group and one that I trust immensely. In the forward pack there's guys like Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock who have taken charge of things there and Beauden Barrett runs a pretty good cutter out the back so guys are stepping up. It's been a good few days.
"It's terrible timing for everyone who has got Covid. We feel for Will. There's a lot of depth and competition for places so it just means someone else will step up in his place. Hopefully Covid doesn't knock him around too much. Realistically he's probably only a chance for the third test.
"We've got plenty of good players and coaches available and we're going to put out a very strong team. We're really excited about the challenge Ireland are going to bring. To play them at a packed Eden Park will be special."
With three coaches absent Joe Schmidt, who led Ireland for seven years from 2013-19, joined the All Blacks on Tuesday to add serious spice to the week. By all accounts Schmidt has fitted in seamlessly, adding specifically to defence while sharing his knowledge of other areas of Ireland's game.
Since answering the SOS call on Monday, Schmidt has also contributed to meetings beyond the training pitch.
"How lucky are we to be able to call on someone like Joe Schmidt? It's been awesome," Cane said. "He'll only be in Tuesday-Thursday to help out on the training park. He's helping with defence predominantly but it's nice to have some wise eyes looking over things."
On a personal level Cane has played one match for the Chiefs in the past month – off the bench in the 21-7 semifinal defeat to the Crusaders in Christchurch – due to a knee injury but he is relishing the prospect of leading the All Blacks against Ireland.
"I was stoked to get a game in before this campaign even though it was only 30 minutes. Every week it's been feeling better and I've been able to get some good kilometres in the legs after not being able to run for a few weeks so I'm really happy with where it's at."
After successive defeats to Ireland in Dublin and France to end their northern tour the All Blacks have a point to prove this July. Cane made it clear the onus falls squarely on the forward pack to set a dominant platform while also ensuring their defence creates pressure and forces turnovers for the backline to strike off.
"We've put a bit of heat on our forward pack to step up particularly in the set piece and collisions. It's no secret test rugby is about dominating collisions, winning small moments and inches like that.
"You can say every test or campaign has real importance but there's certainly a rock under the beach towel because of the way we finished last year. It was a challenging year on many fronts but we've been looking forward to this campaign and it's finally here."