When Nizaam Carr greeted the media yesterday, he had his daughter in his arms.
He quickly apologised for being late. “I’m sorry – I was on my way home and then I got caught up with the kids ... It’s a full-time job at work and it’s a full-time job – even harder – when I get back home,” the 32-year-old Bulls loose forward said.
“Right now, the rugby’s a lot easier than raising two very busy young kids. But doing all well ... ”
That’s the life of many modern rugby players, but being a family man doesn’t mean that the yearning to be the best and represent your country has disappeared.
In fact, that is one of the reasons why Carr rejoined the Bulls last season after his English club Wasps went into administration.
Knowing that his family is sorted out off the field puts Carr at ease on the pitch, which allows him to do his thing in the ‘office’.
The in-form Carr will be facing two of his former Stormers teammates, Eben Etzebeth and Sikhumbuzo Notshe as well.
“We love testing ourselves against the best in the world – and we are the best in the world because we won the World Cup back to back,” the silky No 8 said.
“For us to judge or test ourselves against them is going to be really exciting. We are looking forward to it.
“These are the games where you (need to prove) whether you are a big player or not.
“You want to show that even at this age, you belong at that level. My family are saying I’m getting old and bald.
“But I always want to prove that I’m capable of being at this level, and outshining guys who I’m up against and are current Springboks.”
And it’s another former Stormers teammate who is inspiring him to keep pushing for a Bok recall, having earned five Test caps between 2014 and 2016.
“I’ve been a Springbok, and a good example for me is Deon Fourie winning a World Cup at the age of 37. I think that is hope for a lot of us to be back in the set-up, and there is no better platform than against those guys (the Sharks’ Boks) this weekend,” Carr said.
“I believe you are never the complete package because I’ve been raised in an environment – especially with my late father – that everything has to be perfect, precise and to the point.
“You don’t want to be that old guy who falls behind. We talk about
old and stuff, but if you look at Siya Kolisi, Eben and those boys, we are all the same age and came out of the same year at Under-19 Western Province – and they are flying at the moment. So, that inspires me, and I’m sure it inspires the whole nation.”
The Bulls are coming off a superb 53-27 victory over Connacht, but know that it will be a very different ball game against a Bok-laden Sharks outfit, who thrashed the Dragons 69-14 last weekend.
Carr – who may captain the Pretoria side in the absence of the suspended Marcell Coetzee and
Ruan Nortjé, who is battling with a hamstring issue – insisted that they must keep trying to play with flair and not get forced into a typically tight, physical SA derby style.
And he will have a word with his former Stormers buddies as well: “I am definitely going to throw them a chirp or two, to try and get them off their game.
“But I know their heads are strong ... Eben is a solid character, and an even greater rugby player, as well as Notshe, who has improved so much and taken his game to another level.”