The All Whites are back in action on Friday (NZT), but getting them to the game fit and healthy is a tough assignment.

If you wanted a snapshot of the challenges of bringing the New Zealand team together, it was provided as the team drifted in from across the globe on Monday.

More than one quarter of the squad - the entire Wellington Phoenix contingent plus Melbourne Victory fullback Storm Roux – didn't arrive in Dublin until 1pm on Monday, after a marathon journey.

They hopped on the plane in Melbourne soon after their A League match on Sunday evening, with barely any time for recovery, before a 15 hour trip to Doha, in economy class.


Thankfully the cabin was half empty so the team had a chance to stretch out.

After a connection in Doha, there was another seven hour flight to the Irish capital, with the New Zealand contingent jammed in among ordinary punters and relying on airline food and drinks.

There was a note of levity at the airport, with an immigration officer telling one player- "so if I don't let you in does that mean Ireland have an advantage?" - a typical example of Irish craic.

But it's a punishing schedule, something that the All Blacks would never contemplate, but a reality for Kiwi professional footballers.

They'll have to quickly overcome the jet lag and muscle soreness, with just two full squad training sessions before the clash with Ireland on Thursday night (local time).

They also face chilly temperatures, with the mercury expected to be around four degrees celcius during the match at Aviva stadium.

Finding a suitable training venue has also been tricky; their first option was unsuitable on Monday (too heavy underfoot) so they transferred to the Irish federation's sprawling complex north of the city.

It's a state of the art facility, with six full size pitches, a specialized goalkeeping area, four changing rooms, a lecture theatre and a fully equipped kitchen.

However, all six of the fields are monitored and fully recorded by an extensive live camera operation, and the All Whites are quite rightly reluctant to give away all of their tactics and strategy to the opposition.


Captain Winston Reid remains a good chance to playing in Friday's (NZT) match , despite his lack of recent game time for West Ham, following complications from a knee injury he first suffered in March 2018.

Ultimately the decision will depend on how the 31-year-old comes through training over the next two days, but coach Danny Hay is hopeful he will take the field.

New Zealand's first game in more than 18 months will feature a near full strength side, but the Irish are likely to rotate their squad, given they have a vital European Championship qualifying match with Denmark on Monday.