The ramifications of losing the Rugby Championship hosting rights to Australia are only beginning to set in for the All Blacks, with major changes to their squad certain before the team departs from New Zealand next month.
All Blacks coach Ian Foster has already ripped up a number of blueprints this year with the traditional inbound July tests and northern tour cancelled.
Plans for the Rugby Championship to be staged in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin then flipped last week with Australia securing the four-nation tournament at late notice, largely due to New Zealand's strict quarantine protocols which prevents teams training together as full squads.
The upshot for Foster is he must now pivot again and give all players the choice of skipping the Rugby Championship, while planning to significantly bolster his squad.
Nine-to-10 weeks away from home may be too much for new or imminent fathers to commit to – a list that includes influential playmakers Beauden Barrett, Richie Mo'unga, halfback TJ Perenara and wing Sevu Reece.
New Zealand Rugby Players' Association boss Rob Nichol confirmed discussions about All Blacks player availability were ongoing.
"Everyone in the touring squad has their personal circumstances and pressures which they have to factor in and you want to support them through that process and provide all the information they need to make good decisions in that space," Nichol told Newstalk ZB.
"Every single player wants to play but the challenge is weighed up against other things and where does that then leave them. If a player ultimately decides it's not in their best interests or their family's to tour it won't be because they don't want to be there. It's just that other competing interests take priority and people have to respect that."
Foster is already expected to add another 11 players to the 35-man squad he named in Wellington earlier this month, but he may now be forced to make further, significant alterations if any of those established figures opt out of the Rugby Championship for family reasons.
Sanzaar has made provisions to cater for squads of up to 46 in order to navigate the tricky juggling act of replacing injured players when two weeks quarantine is required.
Larger squads will also be needed to manage player welfare and attrition, with plans being worked through for the Rugby Championship to be staged in a compressed format that is expected to see six test matches played over a five-week period, which may involve some short five-day turnarounds between games.
This format would allow the tournament to finish in the first weekend of December and therefore allow the All Blacks to avoid having to quarantine through Christmas on their return home.
"If you do all the dates and times we'd want everyone out of quarantine at least three or four days before Christmas," Nichol said. "That's going to require some innovations around the draw and they're working on that at the moment."
The dynamic of expanding the All Blacks squad leaves those on the fringe with plenty to play for in the Mitre 10 Cup over the next two weeks in particular.
The All Blacks are expected to add two more props as well as another hooker, halfback, lock and one to two loose forwards.
Highlanders playmaker Josh Ioane and hooker Liam Coltman; Hurricanes midfielder Peter Umaga-Jensen, Chiefs prop Angus Ta'avao and Crusaders loose forward Tom Sanders could be among those included.
Scotland-born Blues halfback Finlay Christie is also likely to be going head to head with Taranaki's Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi for a call-up.
Foster will be closely monitoring the progress of Scott Barrett and Ngani Laumape, both of whom are due to return from their respective injuries in early November.
Before the Rugby Championship begins on November 7, New Zealand Rugby must first confirm the dates of the two Bledisloe Cup tests to be staged here.
Those are expected to take place on October 17 and 24, with Wallabies coach Dave Rennie making it clear any earlier date would not give his side enough time to properly prepare under New Zealand's stringent quarantine protocols which, as it stands, requires teams to isolate for the first three days before bubble sizes gradually increase to a maximum of 25.
The All Blacks' planned warm-up fixture against a Moana Pacific side, which had been scheduled for October 3 at Mt Smart Stadium, is expected to be another causality of the frequent changing plans.
In an ideal world the All Blacks wanted a match together before taking on the Wallabies but, due to time constraints, they may have to settle for an internal hitout instead.