Sevens: Tim Mikkelson poised to topple Forbes' appearance record

Tim Mikkelson runs out at the Los Angeles Sevens tomorrow morning for his 90th world series tournament, the most by any New Zealand player.

He surpasses former captain DJ Forbes, who's revealed Mikkelson didn't quite fit the bill, when he first joined the squad 13 years ago.

But he quickly became one of the most important players in the All Blacks Sevens set up.

The sevens world circuit is back in Los Angeles for the first time since 2008 and there now, as he was then, is Mikkelson. 

"I never thought I'd make it this far or play this long, but I've been extremely lucky with injuries and what not," he says. "To be able to play this long for this team is something I'll always remember."

The LA event will see Mikkelson surpass one of the game's all-time greats. 

Forbes' record of 89 world series tournaments for New Zealand is about to fall behind Mikkelson's 90... not that Forbes minds his former teammate eclipsing his feat.

"I'm a big believer that it was never my record and records are made to be broken."

When Mikkelson first joined the squad in 2007, he didn't immediately fit the mould of your typical sevens player.

"There might've been a few of us who were calling him 'Tim the Builder', because he didn't really look like your classic rugby player," Forbes told Newshub. 

"There's a few times where we might've referred to him as a gazelle, the way he pranced around the field."

DJ Forbes & Tim Mikkelson in action at 2014 Dubai Sevens
DJ Forbes & Tim Mikkelson in action at 2014 Dubai Sevens. Photo credit: Photosport

But his work ethic off it had his teammates in awe.

Mikkelson has long led the way for the All Blacks Sevens and his ability to withstand former coach Gordon Tietjens' infamous fitness sessions was one of his greatest strengths.

"I enjoyed running alongside him and training alongside him, because I knew he'd push the boundaries and he kept me really honest for a lot of those years," said Forbes.

Mikkelson has experienced both the highs and lows of the world series, but his love for the black jersey has never waned.

"I'll cherish these memories forever," he says.

Those memories will get a whole lot sweeter, if the All Blacks Sevens can make Mikkelson's 90th world sevens tournament a winning one.