Sevens: Tim Mikkelson set to break All Blacks tournament record in Los Angeles

Tim Mikkelson will contest his 90th world series tournament next weekend.
Tim Mikkelson will contest his 90th world series tournament next weekend. Photo credit: Photosport

All Blacks Sevens co-captain Tim Mikkelson will become New Zealand's most-capped player when he competes at next weekend's Los Angeles Sevens.

Mikkelson, 33, will contest his 90th tournament, surpassing Kiwi legend DJ Forbes and three behind Englishman James Rodwell's record of 93.

He will also move past Forbes into outright second for matches played, when New Zealand face Wales in their tournament opener on Sunday (NZ time). 

Both are currently on 447, trailing current England star Dan Norton, who clocked up his 456th game at the Sydney Sevens this month.

All Blacks Sevens coach Clark Laidlaw said Mikkelson's milestone was thoroughly deserved.

"I can't speak highly enough of Tim," he explained. "He's the ultimate team man, his resilience and competitiveness is huge, and to reach 90 tournaments with the amount of training, travel and rugby involved is remarkable.

"Tim is a great role model to the younger players in our group and the last two tournaments are two of the best he’s played in recent times, so there’s plenty more to come from him."

Matamata-born Mikkelson made his All Blacks Sevens debut in 2008 and has scored more tries than any other New Zealand player, sitting among the top five in history.

Mikkelson was one of 13 players named for the next two World Series legs in USA and Canada, which sees Joe Ravouvou and Amanki Nicole named for their first tournaments this season.

DJ Forbes offloads to Tim Mikkelson.
DJ Forbes offloads to Tim Mikkelson. Photo credit: Photosport

Andrew Knewstubb, Akuila Rokolisoa and William Warbrick return, after last featuring in the Cape Town victory in December.

"We've only lost two games so far this season but coming off Sydney we know we need to continue to improve," Laidlaw added.

"The competition in the squad is pushing players every day and this group has been training well in the build up to next week." 

The LA Sevens take place at the Dignity Health Sports Park - home of the LA Galaxy football team. Los Angeles last hosted the tournament in 2006. 

New Zealand are currently top of the world series standings, after winning the Cape Town and Hamilton titles this season. 

Four more tournaments are scheduled before the Tokyo Olympics, with the Singapore and Hong Kong legs moved to October, due to the coronavirus epidemic in Asia.

All Blacks Sevens: Caleb Clarke, Sam Dickson, Andrew Knewstubb, Ngarohi McGarvey-Black, Tim Mikkelson, Sione Molia, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Tone Ng Shiu, Amanaki Nicole, Joe Ravouvou, Akuila Rokoisoa, William Warbrick, Joe Webber