Joining Jake White’s Bulls has been ’very special’ for Nizaam Carr
CAPE TOWN - Nizaam Carr had earned 97 caps for the Stormers by the time he left Cape Town for Wasps in England in 2018.
He had already impressed on a loan deal for the Premiership club a year earlier, and quickly became something of a cult figure at the Ricoh Arena.
But, now 29, he still had some unfinished business in South African rugby, and in particular the Springboks, having garnered five Test caps between 2014 and 2016.
The Boks’ Rugby World Cup triumph last year inspired him to give it another shot at Test rugby, and the best way to do that was by returning to South Africa.
But few would’ve guessed that the No 8 would join the Bulls - the Stormers’ arch rivals.
Having made his unofficial debut in the SuperFan warm-up victory over the Sharks two weeks ago, Carr is primed for a Super Rugby Unlocked bow at Loftus on Saturday, when the Bulls face Griquas.
In a video interview on the Bulls app this week, Carr spoke about the excitement of working with a former Bok coach in Jake White, and settling into a new environment in Pretoria.
“It’s very special joining the Bulls team. When Jake called me, I definitely felt like already I’m appreciated, and that he valued me as a player and said to me that I will definitely join this group and be sort of a key link to this team going forward for the future,” the skilful loose forward said.
“What’s special is to play with guys like Duane Vermeulen, Trevor Nyakane and also Jake White, who has been a World Cup-winning coach. For me, that is special as I always prided myself on being associated with the best. Automatically, that brings the best out of yourself.
“I’m definitely happy here, I’m enjoying my time. The lifestyle around Pretoria is brilliant. Faith is a big thing in my life, so when I found the halaal side of things - the food, the mosque - it definitely added to my decision to sign for the Bulls.”
But before Carr can have any ideas of being part of Jacques Nienaber’s first Bok squad, he has his work cut out to make the Bulls starting team.
White has recruited smartly throughout the squad, but particularly amongst the loose forwards, where he has brought in Carr, Vermeulen and Arno Botha to complement the likes of Marco van Staden, Tim Agaba and youngster Muller Uys.
Van Staden, Botha and captain Vermeulen made up the starting loose trio in the SuperFan clash against the Sharks, with Carr coming on off the bench.