Bulls captain Nizaam Carr celebrates making ‘history’ with Stormers counterpart Salmaan Moerat
CAPE TOWN – Bulls captain Nizaam Carr was delighted to celebrate the “milestone” that he and Stormers counterpart Salmaan Moerat achieved during Friday night’s entertaining clash at Loftus Versfeld.
While the Bulls held on for a 34-29 victory in the end, the Cape Muslim rugby community in particular would still have been beaming with pride after seeing two sons of their soil leading the teams out in Pretoria.
It was the first time that there were two Muslim skippers in a match in the modern era of top-level SA rugby, and there were two other men of the same faith involved – Stormers head coach for the match, Labeeb Levy, and the team’s strength and conditioning coach, Riefaat Jappie.
The 29-year-old Carr shared a photo on his Facebook page on Saturday morning where he posed with Moerat, Levy and Jappie outside a Pretoria prayer facility on Friday – which is the holiest day of the week, called Jumu’ah.
“I think he did extremely well. He’s a young lad who did his family and the community proud. And it’s a big milestone, as myself and him made history today (as two Muslim captains) – so I just want to congratulate him for that,” Carr said about Moerat in the post-match SuperSport TV interview.
“But the way he pulled his guys together was unbelievable. The way they attacked from deep was great, but our defence held out. I have to give a lot of credit to Salmaan and his troops – I thought they did really well. They tested us unbelievably tonight. I’m not sure how we did it, but glad with the win.”
It was so nearly the 23-year-old Moerat who was the winning captain on the night, but it was not to be as No 8 Juarno Augustus lost the ball over the tryline in the final move of the match.
But the former SA Schools and SA Under-20 skipper was still smiling about the fact that he had led the Stormers for the first time. “It hasn’t quite sunk in yet. But really proud of the boys. Obviously a life-long dream of mine. Hopefully I can improve on this, and hopefully I can get a couple more opportunities in the near future,” Moerat said.
“It went down to the wire. A lot of positives that we can take out of the game – very proud of the boys. All credit to the Bulls. They stuck at it until the end, and we didn’t expect anything less.”
Levy, who has been involved at various coaching levels in local club rugby and the provincial set-up, has come a long way from being in charge of SK Walmers to being part of the Stormers coaching team, where he is the technical analyst and skills coach.
It was also his first time in charge as the head coach, with John Dobson having given an opportunity to forwards Rito Hlungwani for the Griquas game recently, while backs coach Dawie Snyman will call the shots against the Lions next week.
“It was an experience. What I did realise is that it is a different kettle of fish. And it is different, compared to being a head coach for an entire campaign, as you come riding in on your horse and you have to hit your straps,” Levy said in the post-match press conference.
“I learnt a lot about myself; I learnt a lot about the team; and I also found out where I need to grow as a coach if I want to get there, which I will continue to strive for.”