All Blacks: Rieko Ioane throws support behind Ben Lam after snub

All Blacks winger Rieko Ioane has thrown his support behind Hurricanes flyer Ben Lam, after he was ommitted from Steve Hansen's 33-man squad for the mid-year tests against France.

Instead, Hansen opted for Ioane, Waisake Naholo and Nehe Milner-Skudder as his specialist wingers, with Ben Smith providing cover.

Lam leads Super Rugby with 14 tries in 10 outings rounds this season, four more than the next best.

He's been at the forefront of the Hurricanes' 10-match unbeaten run and was thought of as a potential bolter to take on 'Les Bleus'.

Ioane revealed his rival's rapid rise hadn't caused him much concern for his spot in the All Blacks, but believed it was only a matter of time before Lam was selected.

"I don't worry too much about what everyone else is doing," he said. "I think the big focus for me, especially this year, is just being focused on how I'm playing and how our team's going.

"Doing the best for my team is more critical to selection than anything. I've always said, if I'm happy doing what I'm doing, then I'm always going to be positive, so I don't pay too much attention.

"I'm real close with Lam and all that. He's playing exceptional and I'm sure he's not too far off either."

Lam's rich run of form has seen him cement his place in the Hurricanes run-on side, keeping out former All Blacks winger Julian Savea.

Hansen echoed Ioane's comments and admitted there wasn't much more Lam could have done to earn selection.

"He's just got to keep doing what he's doing and at some stage he'll get picked," he said. "If he has the resilience to keep appearing and playing as he is, then he'll get an opportunity.

"This time, the difference is probably because [Waisake Naholo] and Rieko [Ioane] have both been there, and they've shown us that they can play at that level, so therefore you're going to go there initially and now they have to perform.

"He has to keep performing, and 'Wais' and Rieko, touch wood hopefully, don't pull a hamstring, but if they do, there's an opportunity for somebody and it could be Ben Lam."


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