The All Blacks Sevens Olympics campaign has been dealt a blow, with star Sam Dickson ruled out of the tournament due to injury.
Dickson sustained a knee injury during the squad's training in Townsville, which has been deemed serious enough to prevent him taking any part in Tokyo, with the news breaking as the team arrived at the athletes' village.
Travelling reserve Amanaki Nicole has been named as Dickson's replacement - earning promotion ahead of All Blacks star Caleb Clarke - as the team prepare for their opening game against South Korea on Monday.
The 31-year-old Dickson is a veteran of the side, having featured at Rio 2016 as well as the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
"We are absolutely gutted for Sam," the team has Tweeted. "Wishing him a speedy recovery."
Meanwhile, changes to the alternate replacement rule announced by the International Olympic Committee see travelling reserves William Warbrick and Tenika Willison being available to start for the All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens respectively.
The amendment allows teams to pick from the 12 selected players and the alternative reserve in the starting 12 for each match. Previously, the travelling reserves were only able to be used as a permanent injury replacement.
That adjustment means Clarke is now the next cab off the rank for the All Blacks Sevens, should further injury issue strike, which seems highly likely given the demanding conditions in Tokyo.
Join us at 11:30pm, Wednesday, for live updates of the Football Ferns' Tokyo opener against Australia