Lam ripping apart defences
Here’s a hobby that speaks volumes.
It’s not that Hurricanes wing Ben Lam isn’t friendly. He’s actually very good and intelligent company, with plenty of worthwhile things to say. It’s just that 26-year-old spends his working life being looked at and judged by people. That’s partly why he enjoys a more solitary pursuit in his spare time.
‘‘Diving,’’ Lam said, quietly. ‘‘I’ve started diving around Breaker Bay and trying to find little spots to get away from it all. It’s really good being under water. You have your own thoughts and there’s nothing else under there. Or hopefully not anything else under there.’’
It’s not just the peace. For Lam, there’s a semiprofessional element to diving as well.
After the left wing scored four of his nine tries for this season, in the recent rout of the Rebels, Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd said Lam had two degrees. Not quite.
‘‘I still have a year left on my marine science and geography degree,’’ said Lam.
It’s been slow going of late, but he hopes to get it all finished. He’d been keen on geography at Auckland’s St Peter’s College and the marine science part appealed too.
‘‘It’s heaps of field work, a lot of land surveying and work around volcanos and stuff like that. I like the outdoors and hand-on stuff.’’
Lam’s listed at 1.91-metres and 110 kilograms, on the Hurricanes’ website. That makes him a big man by anyone’s measure. Only he’s not just big, but lethally quick.
He was a sub 11-second 100-metre sprinter at school and while he’s a few kilograms heavier these days, the raw pace remains.
Injuries and a lack of faith from the odd coach meant Lam wasn’t able to fully deliver on his potential until now. He knows there’s still lots to improve on, but he’s revelling in the consistent gametime.
‘‘It’s a relief more than anything for me to show that I can do what I know I can do,’’ he said.
The Hurricanes have rewarded Lam’s impressive showings with a contract extension, that’ll keep him in Wellington until after the 2020 season. It’s all helped to make him feel he belongs, on and off the park. As has a spot in the latest addition to the Hurricanes’ social scene.
‘‘We have a book club. Me, Ardie Savea, Chris Eves and Blade Thomson,’’ said Lam.
‘‘We’re trying to read the same book and expand our learning and try and do things outside of rugby and take the focus away from rugby all the time.
‘‘So we all come up with one book and we decide a time when we’re all free. It’s still early days.
‘‘We’ve read Wink, which is a good book, a life-lesson book, and we’re currently trying to read The Girl on the Train. It’s still early. We weren’t really big readers before this, so we’re trying to figure out how it’s all going to work.’’
Hurricanes wing Ben Lam, seen here strteaking away from the Chiefs’ Brodie Retallick, is Super Rugby’s top tryscorer so far this season.