Blues' 'new kid' on the wing not phased about replacing Caleb Clarke

May 21, 2021

Blues winger AJ Lam. Photo/Stuff

By Elijah Fa'afiu - elijah.fa'

The “new kid” in the Blues number 11 jersey has taken a liking to the “major step-up” of Super Rugby.

AJ Lam isn’t feeling the pressure of replacing Blues star Caleb Clarke on the wing, as the latter aims for rugby sevens gold at the Tokyo Olympics.

“Everyone gets their chance, everyone plays differently as well. It’s just being able to take the most of the opportunity and just doing the best you can to the best of your abilities,” Lam says.

Lam is coming off a strong Mitre 10 Cup campaign for Auckland last year, scoring seven tries in eight games and showcasing the speed, size and line-running ability that made him an easy fit for the Blues backline.

The 22-year-old St Peter’s College product is the younger brother of Ben Lam, who appeared for the Blues and Hurricanes during his Super Rugby career.

“Older brother said it’s going to be a bit full on, but I took that on board, which is pretty good,” AJ says.

Lam has joined fellow rookie Zarn Sullivan as the starting winger and fullback respectively for the Blues, something which has made Lam’s Super Rugby journey a lot easier.

“Me and Zarn’s got a good connection through Auckland, and kind of just keep it on each other, back each other in every instance.”

Lam also credits veteran midfielders TJ Faiane and Rieko Ioane for helping him adjust to the Super Rugby level.

“Start of the year, I came into the Blues as a new kid. The boys made me feel welcome, kind of got easier and easier in training as the year went on.

“TJ and Reeks play a big part in our backline. I feel like they’re kind of the core of our backline, and just gives the young boys heaps of confidence just to be us.”

Lam will look to make the number 11 jersey his own as the Blues host the Waratahs tomorrow night at Eden Park.