No All Blacks have withdrawn from Rugby Championship - coach Ian Foster

All Blacks coach Ian Foster denies any of his players have ruled themselves out of a revamped Rugby Championship in Australia over November/December.

The annual four-nation southern hemisphere competition was allocated across the Tasman last Friday, with ruling body SANZAAR preferring Australia's more relaxed COVID-19 quarantine regulations to those of New Zealand.

While Foster concedes the campaign presents major logistical challenges, reports of mass player withdrawals have been wildly overstated.

Among those thought to be reconsidering their involvement are star first-fives Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo'unga, and halfback TJ Perenara. The latter two have recently become fathers, while Barrett and wife Hannah are expecting their first child this month.

"It's definitely something we'll put thought into," Perenara says. "It's not an easy situation to have to go into, but there will be a lot of thought going into that."

Foster is adamant no-one has made themselves unavailable.

"Are players talking about the issues?" he muses. "Yes they are and we're learning things as we go along."

Initial reports suggested All Blacks may remain in quarantine through Christmas, when they return from Australia, but Foster has ruled that out.

"We now know we have a nine-week stint in Australia that involves us coming out of quarantine on December 19," he says. "We've been able to get facts around that.

"As we get more information, we're taking to the players one by one and looking at their situations.

"Every player's going to be slightly different, but I haven't heard from any player at all that they're not coming. What I have heard from players is they have some questions, but that's a completely different thing and purely natural."

Foster seems poised to take 11 extra players across the Tasman as insurance against withdrawals, injuries or positive COVID-19 tests. 

He admits the pandemic has made planning for all contingencies problematical, but NZ Rugby is committed to fulfilling its obligation to contest the Rugby Championship.

"It's massively tricky, but there's also the reality of being a professional sportsperson," says Foster. "We all know it's not ideal and it's an imperfect world we live in, but those are the cards we've been dealt."

In an effort to minimise the absence of players from their families, All Blacks management has reduced training camps to a total of 13 days over the next six weeks, before they leave for Australia.

Families may also come into camp for the NZ-based tests to be with their husbands/partners/fathers.

"We haven't gone around and spoken to 35 players yet, but are we confident that we can take a 100 percent squad or pretty close?" says Foster. "Yes I am.

"Whilst people focus on the negative, there's also a massive degree of excitement that we're actually going to play some test matches and the negatives aren't insurmountable."