Nizaam Carr in the colours of his former team, the Stormers. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
Nizaam Carr in the colours of his former team, the Stormers. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Nizaam Carr driven to play for the Springboks again

By Jacques van der Westhuyzen Time of article published Jul 31, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - The Springboks’ World Cup winning performance in Japan last year has inspired experienced loose-forward Nizaam Carr to work harder and keep believing that anything is possible.

It is the reason why the 29-year-old has returned to South Africa after three years playing in Europe: he wants to play for the Boks again, and he wants to inspire young kids just like the Boks have inspired him.

When Carr, who before his move to England was a passionate born and bred Capetonian, next runs out in a competitive match though he’ll be wearing the light blue of the “old enemy”, the Bulls, and not the dark blue of Western Province and Stormers.

In a surprise move by the loose-forward, he recently joined Jake White’s new-look Bulls team from Wasps in England, where he’d been playing since mid-2017.

“My friends and family have given me a bit of a hard time. There are probably a few out there with raised eye-brows and many have said to me that I’m now going to be wearing the wrong blue jersey, but it’s all good,” said Carr.

“I just want to play at a place where I’m valued, where I can be the best player I can be, and where I can add value to the team, and those around me.”

But, it’s more than that, and the move to Pretoria remains a big one.

“I’ve known Jake for a long time and after playing in the Cape for so long and then most recently in England, I want to try something different again.

“Nowadays one only has about 15 years of playing rugby at the highest level, if you’re lucky, and I like to think it’s important and good to experience different teams, coaches, players and environments. This is another part of my rugby journey and I can’t wait to get going.”

Carr returned to South Africa a few weeks ago but has been holed up in a Sandton hotel, completing his 14-day quarantine period, with his family.

“It’s been a challenge. We left Heathrow in London last Sunday, flew to Amsterdam, spent a night there, and then headed to South Africa. It was our first long-haul flight with our one-year old (July 14), and we didn’t know how it was going to go.

“Anyway, we’re here now and luckily all’s gone well so far. We’ve all been tested and are in the clear. I’ll head straight to Pretoria on Monday and go into camp with my new teammates. I’m looking forward to it.”

While unable to properly train, Carr has at least done some form of exercise while stuck in quarantine: he’s used the hotel’s parking garage as a training facility.

“I’ve got to get used to the altitude, so I’ve been running in ‘basement level 3 carpark’; it’s better than nothing,” he said.

Carr earned four Springbok caps between 2014 and 2016 and said he wanted to win more trophies and titles following his move back to South Africa - and whether that turns out to be with the Bulls or the Boks is seemingly irrelevant.

“I won two Currie Cup titles at Western Province, and now I want more. Seeing the Boks win in Japan last year gave me so much hope and inspiration.

“From where they came to play the way they did was so motivational.

"They worked so hard and it shows that anything is possible with hard work.

“I’ve been in that company before (with the Boks) and a lot of my friends were there last year (in the World Cup team) and I still have that dream to be back there.

"If you lose that hope and desire and don’t dream about the Boks then rugby is not for you and you must play another sport.

“I want to represent my country (be it with the Boks or with my provincial team) and have an influence on someone coming up through the ranks.

“I want to be in a position to give someone hope, just like I was given an opportunity when I was young.”

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