Co-Captain Tim Mikkelson will run out for his 90th tournament at the Los Angeles Sevens, surpassing DJ Forbes as the most capped New Zealand Sevens player.
Laidlaw said Mikkelson’s milestone is thoroughly deserved.
“I can’t speak highly enough of Tim. 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 that is 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.”
Joe Ravouvou and Amanki Nicole have been named for their first tournaments this season, with Laidlaw confirming a desire to see all players gain meaningful game time in the build up to the Olympics.
“Joe came back from 15s injured but he’s been training well and his conditioning is probably the best we have seen, he is enthusiastic about getting back out there.”
Andrew Knewstubb, Akuila Rokolisoa and William Warbrick return after last featuring in the Cape Town victory in December.
“We’ve have only lost two games so far this season but coming off Sydney we know we need to continue to improve. The competition in the squad is really pushing players every day and this group has been training well in the build up to next week,” said Laidlaw.
The team depart for USA on Monday.
The All Blacks 7s
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Story Courtesy/All Blacks