New Zealand Rugby says it will consider any request by players to pull out of the All Blacks Rugby Championship campaign on a case by case basis.
Australia was confirmed as the host of the revised 2020 Rugby Championship across November and December last week, meaning the All Blacks, along with the Springboks and Argentina, will be spending nine weeks away from home.
RNZ understands a group of players don’t want to leave their young families for that period, which could include spending Christmas in quarantine upon their return.
Those players include first-fives Richie Mo’unga and Beauden Barrett.
New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson said they want to have the tournament wrapped up by early December.
“We want our players to feel happy safe and comfortable in the environments they are in … we are like any employer we want to do the right thing by them and ensure they have the appropriate time to consider all the ramifications of being away for that period of time so we will just continue to work through that.
Asked on Morning Report if players would still be paid if they refused to go to Australia, Robinson was non-commital.
“We’ll work through all those scenarios in due course.”
Meanwhile, All Blacks coach Ian Foster told Nine to Noon that he has spoken with the players in question.
“The players have categorically denied that [not wanting to go].
“But we are having conversations with players to make sure that we deal with the family situations and we’ll do that one on one with the people, we know that… we’ve got between now and until the end of October while we’re in New Zealand to control some things in that space and how we actually integrate families into our programmes is going to be critical.
SOURCE – RADIO NZ