Millwall striker Wood flies to New Zealand to face Tahiti

© Edmund Boyden

CHRIS Wood has flown to New Zealand to link up with the Kiwi national squad ahead of two World Cup 2014 qualifiers against Tahiti.

The West Brom loanee completed an epic 11,500-mile flight from London to Auckland in the early hours of Tuesday morning and will travel on to Papeete, Tahiti's capital, for the first part of a double-header on Friday.

The two teams meet again in Christchurch four days later in what is the third round of qualifying for nations in the Oceania Football Confederation.

Wood has scored seven goals in the first two rounds, making him the region's top scorer.

"We have to travel all the way back to New Zealand every other game and it's something I just have to deal with," Wood told Lions Live.

"It's a long way to travel – it takes about 22 hours – but it's part and parcel of the game these days if you're playing for your country. It's about recovering and making sure you're right for when you get back.

"I wear special skins on flights and make sure I do recovery work when I get off the plane at both ends. You need to rest and adjust to the time zones as quickly as possible.

"We've got two games against Tahiti – one in New Zealand, the other in Tahiti. They're not a bad side – they always cause us a lot of problems when we go to their place.

"It's a very dry, rough pitch and they're a very athletic team. They can be hard to play against."



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