Mikkelson takes NZ sevens reins

Thu, 25 Apr 2013 10:36

New Zealand Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens has handed the captaincy of his New Zealand Sevens side to Tim Mikkelson, for the Glasgow and London legs, in the absence of stalwart leader DJ Forbes.

Mikkelson had to take over the captaincy in Tokyo and he has gained the confidence of his coach.

"Tim did a great job stepping up to the captain’s role in Tokyo and certainly deserves the honour of leading the team again," Tietjens said.

There is also a new cap in the squad as the coach has called up youngster Pita Ahki as a replacement due to a number of injuries in the squad.

The 20-year-old back Ahki is the only new cap. He is a member of the Blues Wider Training Group and played for New Zealand Under-20 at the Junior World Championship in South Africa last year.

"Pita Ahki is an exciting young prospect and he impressed in training this week so deserves the opportunity.

"We have played consistently well all season despite a number of injury setbacks so it shows the depth we now have in the wider squad," said Tietjens.

Injuries have struck Tietjens' squad and a number of his top players are unavailable for selection.

In addition to DJ Forbes; Toby Arnold, Sam Dickson, Mark Jackman and David Raikuna were also not considered because of injury.

A positive is that returning from injury are IRB Sevens Player of the Year Tomasi Cama who missed Hong Kong and Tokyo, Kurt Baker who has not played since Wellington and Scott Curry who makes his first squad of the season.

New Zealand Sevens squad: Pita Ahki, Kurt Baker, Tomasi Cama, Scott Curry, Gillies Kaka, Rocky Khan, Ben Lam, Tim Mikkelson (captain), Lote Raikabula, Sherwin Stowers, Trinity Spooner-Neera, Belgium Tuatagaloa.