New Zealand have received a major blow on the eve of the Las Vegas sevens with veteran Lote Raikabula forced out with injury.
Raikabula suffered an ankle strain during training yesterday.
He was captaining the side in the absence of the injured DJ Forbes. Tomasi Cama now takes over the captaincy duties for this fifth round of the world series.
Raikabula has been replaced by contracted sevens player Warwick Lahmert of Taranaki.
Lahmert made his debut for the Sevens All Blacks at the Gold Coast Sevens last October and led the New Zealand Emerging Players side that took part in the recent Uprising Sevens tournament in Fiji. He is due to arrive in Las Vegas today with the tournament starting tomorrow.
New Zealand play Argentina, France and Wales in pool play.
Coach Gordon Tietjens is now without three key players for the USA tournament, with Kurt Baker also missing after being injured in last week's tournament in Wellington.
The Sevens All Blacks finished third in Wellington after being stunned by Kenya in the semifinals.
New Zealand still comfortably lead the series on 77 points, with Kenya second overall on 56 points.
- Fairfax Media