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Mikkelson's 99th on ice due to injury

Tim Mikkelson’s return to the All Blacks Sevens team for the Hong Kong Sevens next week has been postponed after suffering an achilles injury in training.

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Mikkelson, one of the world’s most decorated sevens players, has been tormented by injuries for the last two years and was finally about to make his 99th Sevens tournament the the All Blacks as part of a 13-strong New Zealand side to travel to Hong Kong.

Aside from the Tokyo Olympics, Mikkelsen hasn’t played a tournament for the All Blacks Sevens since March 2020, when New Zealand claimed victory in Vancouver.

The NZ squad sees the return of Joe Webber, Dylan Collier and Leroy Carter, all of whom missed the Rugby World Cup Sevens through injury.

Players who were not considered due to injury are Kitiona Vai, Andrew Knewstubb, Roderick Solo, Che Clark, & Lewis Ormond.

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,” said head coach Clark Laidlaw.

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“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 been drawn to face Samoa, Australia and hosts Hong Kong in the pool stages.

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All Blacks Sevens: Kurt Baker, Leroy Carter, Dylan Collier, Sam Dickson, Moses Leo, Ngarohi McGarvey-Black, Sione Molia, Tone Ng Shiu, Amanaki Nicole, Akuila Rokolisoa, Regan Ware, Joe Webber

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