ll Blacks Sevens Coach Gordon Tietjens confirmed the news today to allblacks.com
One of the best players in World Sevens suffered two small partial tears in his left adductor muscles earlier in the week and has been replaced by Wellington’s Murphy Taramai.
The master Sevens mentor was not downplaying his absence.
“It is a huge loss,” Tietjens said.
“I have confidence in the players coming in to replace him.”
Medical staff confirmed that Mikkelson could have featured in the tournament, but with Olympic qualifying a huge factor this season, Tietjens was not going to gamble with one of his marquee players.
“We could probably get him across the line, but the risk is too great,” Tietjens said from Wellington today.
“It was tempting (to play him).”
“But I wasn’t prepared to take that risk.”
Mikkelson is still coming to terms with the fact he cannot play in his team’s home leg.
“He is pretty devastated,” Tietjens explained.
“He will be part of the squad, he might run water, but he can still offer a lot in terms of experience.”
Taramai replaces the 2013 World Sevens Player of the Year.
Experienced veterans Tomasi Cama and Lote Raikabula were not called into the 12-man squad, with Tietjens saying there was enough leadership in the group.