One of the world’s most decorated sevens players, Tim Mikkelson, will return from injury at the Hong Kong Sevens on 4-6 November. This will be his first tournament since claiming a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
The team is (brackets denotes All Blacks Sevens tournaments);
Kurt Baker (51)
Leroy Carter (5)
Dylan Collier (46)
Sam Dickson (64)
Moses Leo (5)
Ngarohi McGarvey-Black (19)
Tim Mikkelson (98)
Sione Molia (45)
Tone Ng Shiu (33)
Amanaki Nicole (13)
Akuila Rokolisoa (20)
Regan Ware (47)
Joe Webber (46)
Unavailable due to injury: Kitiona Vai, Andrew Knewstubb, Roderick Solo, Che Clark, & Lewis Ormond
Mikkelson returns from an injury that has kept him side-lined throughout the 2022 season, approaching the remarkable milestone of 100 international sevens tournaments.
Head Coach Clark Laidlaw said Mikkelson has been a huge inspiration to the team.
“He has basically played one tournament, the Olympics, in the past two years. But every day he shows up, training the way he does with and attitude and willingness to fight through what has been a really tricky injury.
“I’ve never seen a reaction to a name in a team naming before quite like when his name appeared, everybody is so pleased he is back.
“He’s excited too, he has run his fastest ever speed time in the past week or so which shows how ready he is to play. Having his experience back on the road with us will be invaluable,” said Laidlaw.
The team also welcomes back Joe Webber, Dylan Collier and Leroy Carter who missed the Rugby World Cup Sevens through injury.
Seven of the 13 players selected have more than 40 World Series caps, valuable experience as the side aims for Olympic qualification throughout the 2022/23 World Series.
“It’s been a short break so that’s good in a lot of ways because our game can get back up and run quickly. The players are in good shape so there is a bit of consistency from last season.
“It’s not about pinnacle events this year, it’s about playing with a mindset to attack every tournament we can accumulate points and qualify for the Olympics,” said Laidlaw.
The team will play two tournaments in Hong Kong this season, considered by many as the home of sevens.
“It was the only international tournament for a long period. The World Series has become an amazing circuit and going to all these tournaments is really cool but there is an energy around the stadium in Hong Kong and a real tradition to the tournament that you feel when you are there.”
The All Blacks Sevens have a tough pool assignment across the first two days of competition, drawn against Samoa, Hong Kong and Australia.