New Zealand Sevens

All Blacks Sevens inspired by Mikkelson's milestone ahead of HSBC Los Angeles Sevens

The All Blacks Sevens are eyeing a strong performance in Los Angeles to cement their place atop the HSBC Sevens Series ladder and to celebrate Tim Mikkelson’s 90th tournament.

There are five changes to the side that finished fifth in Sydney, with Joe Ravouvou and Amanaki Nicole making their first starts of the season while Andrew Knewstubb, Akuila Rokolisoa and William Warbrick returning to the team.

The team is;

  1. Amanaki Nicole
  2. Tim Mikkelson – co-captain
  3. Tone Ng Shiu
  4. Joe Ravouvou
  5. William Warbrick
  6. Akuila Rokolisoa
  7. Sam Dickson
  8. Andrew Knewstubb
  9. Caleb Clarke
  10. Ngarohi McGarvey-Black
  11. Etene Nanai-Seturo
  12. Sione Molia – co-captain
    * Vilimoni Koroi is the 13th player

All Blacks Sevens Head Coach Clark Laidlaw said with a strong, fit squad to pick from the changes will add excitement to the team this weekend.

Joe Ravovou has been training as well as he ever has so we’re keen to get the ball to him, it will be great to have Amanaki’s aerial skills out there and it's Will’s first official run on, so we’re excited for all of them.

Laidlaw was strong in his praise for Co-Captain Tim Mikkelson who becomes the team’s most capped player this weekend, in his 90th World Series tournament.

“His genuine love for training and this team and his preparation every day is second to none – we’ll respect that as a team but ultimately he has a job to do and we’ve got a job to play well for him.”

The All Blacks Sevens will open their account in Los Angeles against Wales, who they have met in every tournament this season, followed by matches against Spain and England.

“We think we know what Wales will bring but we have to be sharp in case they’ve changed things; we need to start well and be on straight away.

“Spain are tricky opponents in the way they keep the ball alive and England are a settled squad with lots of experience, but we have to take care of Wales first so we can’t look past them at this stage,” said Laidlaw.