Rugby sevens: Mikkelson named new captain

Tim Mikkelson.
Tim Mikkelson.

Tim Mikkelson is the newly unveiled captain of the All Blacks Sevens.

The veteran sevens specialist will captain the All Blacks Sevens for the remaining eight tournaments of the HSBC Sevens World Series.

Mikkelson replaces Scott Curry, who suffered a season-ending shoulder injury at the Dubai Sevens last month.

Coach Gordon Tietjens said Mikkelson was the right man to take over at this stage.

"Tim's a top player with many seasons of experience and has some great leadership qualities. He knows the game inside out so I'm confident he has what it takes to lead the team over the rest of the season. Tim's got huge respect from all the players and I know there will be plenty of support for him.

"It was a real blow to lose Scott in Dubai, but it's great we have someone as experienced as Tim to step in."

Mikkelson (29) has been a standout performer in the side since making his debut at the South Africa Sevens in 2007.

The veteran of 56 World Series tournaments has scored more tries (160) than any other New Zealand sevens player and is currently seventh highest tryscorer in World Series history. His outstanding form in 2013 saw him named the IRB Sevens Player of the Year.

"It's an honour to be given the responsibility to lead the team for the rest of the World Series," said Mikkelson. "I've got big shoes to fill, but we've got a great pool of experienced players who will all be helping out.

"It's a really exciting year ahead for sevens and we're looking forward to playing in Wellington as it's the only time we play in front of our home fans. We're really hoping there's a big turnout as it's a huge year for us and we love the support we get in the capital.

"We're certainly working hard after the challenging start to the season and hope to turn things around with a great performance in Wellington."

The All Blacks Sevens are currently seventh in the World Series. Wellington Sevens kicks off on Saturday January 30. The All Blacks Sevens play Scotland, South Africa and Russia in pool play. The squad assembles in Wellington on Thursday 21 with the team to play in the Wellington Sevens named on Monday January 25.

- NZ Herald

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