The World Cup is at its halfway stage for those nations with the capability to reach the final and the All Blacks have confirmed they have a plan to help prevent cases of homesickness that have the potential to badly affect the level of performances of their players here in Japan.

It is not a case of one size fits all and it's a big departure from rugby tours of yesteryear which went something like this: Families were expected to be out of sight and out of mind. The focus was rugby and little else.

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Thankfully for all involved times have changed. With the All Blacks preparing for their final pool game against Italy on Saturday before a quarter-final a week later, some of their families have arrived in Tokyo to support their players and some may arrive later. Some may not come at all.

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"It's a very real thing for all of us and it hits people in different ways – particularly players with young kids, but I think technology allows people to keep in touch really well," assistant coach Ian Foster said.

"[It's important to] make sure people have a structure which allows them to switch off and spend time talking or if families come over having time to spend with them. We've found that's a great lift for them if they can manage that part of their lives really well. It's being able to talk about it.

All Black George Bridge and girlfriend Evie Burdon Picre posted to Instagram.
All Black George Bridge and girlfriend Evie Burdon Picre posted to Instagram.

"It's great seeing some families here at the hotel at the moment for some players, but it's managing other players who are missing their partners and wives and people who aren't here and making sure we're looking after them and talking about their families with them and sharing a few smiles with them as well."

Asked if there were any protocols around families interacting with players and vice-versa, Foster said: "We ask the players; we met with them before we came over and talked about a plan and got them to have a structure. Clearly the men are here to do a job so their attention is 100 per cent on what we're here for but we've learned that if they have a really good plan around their family and how that fits in it can really feed that.

Ian Foster talks about the benefits of visits from family for the All Blacks during the Rugby World Cup. Video / Mark Mitchell

"The plan is not the same for everyone, it's individual and based on their own circumstances but as long as they've thought about it and structured it into their week we think it's great.

"We don't have set rules or regulations on it; it's what the player thinks is best for his preparation."

All Blacks coaches Steve Hansen and Ian Foster with Richie Mo'unga and Beaden Barrett before the RWC2019 pool match against Namibia in Tokyo, Japan. Photo / Mark Mitchell.
All Blacks coaches Steve Hansen and Ian Foster with Richie Mo'unga and Beaden Barrett before the RWC2019 pool match against Namibia in Tokyo, Japan. Photo / Mark Mitchell.

A happy player is far more likely to play to his potential, and, as the pressure steadily increases over the coming days, the All Blacks' support systems are set to become increasingly important.