Yes. The stats for Lam stack up so well

The Southland Times - - Front Page -

Ben Lam is hav­ing an in­cred­i­ble, break­out sea­son for the Hur­ri­canes, and should be an All Black for the June se­ries against France. With 12 tries in just 10 games, Lam is three clear of his near­est Su­per Rugby ri­val in Ar­gen­tinian Emil­iano Bof­felli.

Of the wing with more than 200 min­utes un­der their belt this sea­son, only two are scor­ing at a rate bet­ter than Lam.

He crosses the white chalk ev­ery 59.58 min­utes, with Taqele Nai­yar­a­voro (57.63 min­utes) and Ma­dosh Tambwe (45 min­utes) the only play­ers more po­tent.

On av­er­age, Lam is tak­ing each carry for 11.47 me­tres and, while that fig­ure isn’t the high­est in Su­per Rugby, he does so while mak­ing more line breaks and tackle busts than those ahead of him.

In short, he’s mak­ing those me­tres the hard way. Lam makes a line break with ev­ery fourth carry, beaten by only three men in Su­per Rugby, and none of them are Ki­wis.

Let’s take a step back, though, and dis­cuss his per­ceived weak­nesses.

Lam is a li­a­bil­ity un­der the high ball and doesn’t have great hands, or at least that’s what I’ve read over the past cou­ple of weeks.

Don’t let your eyes fool you.

Ben Lam has no han­dling er­rors in Su­per Rugby this year, ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial statis­tics.

That’s right, not one sin­gle er­ror. He’s played 715 min­utes and made 70 runs but hasn’t spilled the pill.

He’s also turned the ball over just twice this sea­son, which is an as­ton­ish­ing fig­ure for a man who has been in­volved in so much play.

The ar­eas he doesn’t ex­cel is kick­ing (who cares, he’s a wing) and de­fence.

His tack­ling per­cent­age of 71.11 per cent is mid pack for Su­per Rugby wings, with guys such as Ben Smith and Ju­lian Savea boast­ing an 88.89 per cent suc­cess rate.

Those are things you can live with when your wing scores a try ev­ery 60 min­utes.

Play him against France, and you’d ex­pect four tries in three games. Hard to pass up, right?

We all know how stacked New Zealand Rugby is when it comes to out­side backs.

The ar­gu­ment is, why would we drop one of our proven guys when they’re do­ing just fine?

Dare I say it, what if Lam is bet­ter? Give him a shot when he’s in the form of his life and see what hap­pens. It’s not like you’re rolling the dice.

The guy has proven he’s ex­cep­tional.

This is just a chance to strive for that minute im­prove­ment this side is al­ways look­ing for.

If he isn’t an im­prove­ment, no harm, but, based on his num­bers, he’s wor­thy of a shot.

GETTY IM­AGES

An­other one bites the dust as Hur­ri­canes wing Ben Lam races in to score against the Rebels in their Su­per Rugby clash on March 30.

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