CHris Wood will miss tomorrow’s OFC Nations Cup final – to attend his sister’s wedding.
The Leeds United striker has pulled out of New Zealand’s squad for the clash with hosts Papua New Guinea after speaking with All Whites head coach Anthony Hudson.
Wood, who has captained New Zealand throughout the tournament, scored three goals on the way to the final and secured a 1-0 win over New Caledonia in the last four with a long-range free-kick on Wednesday.
Wood said: “I’m gutted I won’t be able to take part in the final but my sister’s wedding is something I’ve looked forward to for a very long time and it’s something that’s very important to me.
“My family is the most important thing in my life.”
Hudson insisted he understood Wood’s reasoning, saying: “It was an ongoing discussion. He came to me a long time ago but as you get nearer to a tournament you want to try to see if there are any other options.
“You think maybe Chris will come in and with more discussions you might be able to sway him the other way. But once I’d heard it from his mouth and seen in his face what it meant to him it was no problem with me.
“We knew this was going to happen but we also knew he was going to help us get to the final and he’s done that. Everyone is behind Chris and fully focused on the game.”
Wood will now prepare for his return to pre-season training with Leeds at the end of this month.