After being punished for making errors at crucial moments in Hong Kong last weekend, you might expect the All Blacks Sevens to go into their shells a little and play it safe.

However, Tim Mikkelson says that will not be the case at the Singapore tournament this weekend as the team still have full confidence in their usual free flowing, attacking style of rugby.

"We've got a lot of guys coming back from injury and they got a taste of footy last week," Mikkelson said.

"We know as a team we'll be better off, we just really want to play positive footy over here in Singapore - starting with our first game against Japan."


The national men's sevens side have dropped to third place on the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Series Standings after being knocked out in the quarterfinals of the Hong Kong Sevens in their first ever loss to France. Their campaign ended with a sixth-place finish following a loss to Argentina.

When asked what "positive footy" looks like, Mikkelson says it is about playing their own style and tempo.

"We train hard all week to execute and in Hong Kong we didn't quite execute when it mattered. Hopefully we go out there with a real positive attitude, with that black jersey on, and do the business," Mikkelson says.

"We sort of circled Hong Kong at the start of the year, we really wanted to win that tournament, and we just thought at times we didn't quite execute our skills and just made errors. Looking back at the footage, every time we made an error the other teams scored and really punished us.

All Blacks Sevens' Tim Mikkelson charges forward against Fiji on day two of the HSBC Hong Kong Sevens. Photo / Getty Images
All Blacks Sevens' Tim Mikkelson charges forward against Fiji on day two of the HSBC Hong Kong Sevens. Photo / Getty Images

"This week, we don't want to go into our shell and focus on not making errors, we just really want to play positive. We train together all the time, we know our game plan and we're confident in it, we just need to really go out and execute."

The top four teams of the 2018–19 World Rugby Sevens Series automatically qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Now in third place, the pressure is on the All Blacks Sevens to start producing results. However, Mikkelson says that is not at the forefront of the players' minds.

"Obviously it's a qualification year but we're just trying to win every tournament and every game that we play. We're confident with our game plan, the way we play and with our squad, so if we can just focus on ourselves we thing that will take care of itself."

Mikkelson says the World Series is more competitive than ever, meaning mistakes are punished more often, but it is good for the sport as a whole.


"It's definitely [exciting to see]. At the second tier tournament Hong Kong and Ireland made it up to the World Series next year which just shows how competitive all those teams are this year.

"All those teams coming through is awesome for the game of sevens. You see it in the women's game as well, it's just growing and evolving - it's exciting to think where the game might be in five or 10 years time."

Singapore Sevens New Zealand's fixtures:
New Zealand vs Japan: Saturday, April 13, 10pm (NZT).
New Zealand vs Spain: Sunday, April 14, 1.28am (NZT).
New Zealand vs Samoa: Sunday, April 14, 5.16am (NZT).

2018/2019 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series schedule:
Dubai: December 1 - 1st.
Cape Town, December 8-9 - 4th.
Hamilton: January 26-27 - 3rd.
Sydney: February 2-3 - 1st.
Las Vegas: March 1-3 - 3rd.
Vancouver: March 9-10 - 5th.
Hong Kong: April 5-7 - 6th.
Singapore: April 13-14.
London: May 25-26.
Paris: June 1-2.