Fast Carr powers Stormers
Sport24 chief writer Rob Houwing (File)
Cape Town – Even as various senior soldiers stumble and fall, the
Stormers’ amazing, current penchant for seamlessly introducing
youngsters -- some not very long out of their teens -- goes on.
saw just another customer of this kind successfully spat out of their
Super Rugby talent factory as full debutant No 8 Nizaam Carr played a
prominent role in the comfortable but hard-earned 17-3 triumph over the
Western Force in Perth.
He only turned 21 a few days into their
overseas tour, which has ended up sporting an impressive harvest of
three wins and 13 log points from a possible 20.
And after a few
promising little cameos off the bench, the former SA under-20 star,
educated at Bishops and UCT, confirmed his huge potential as he finally
got a full game in rain-lashed Perth.
Notably quickly into his
stride at nib Stadium, Carr was skilful, purposeful and energetic
throughout: with apologies over the motoring link to his surname, he
must have a marvellous engine too, because to keep going so impressively
in his first extended exposure at this level on a heavy field with some
areas of unabsorbed water, was a further feather to his cap.
could hardly have been blamed for requiring some attention to apparent
cramp six minutes from the finish, as his tackle count had been
especially high in another of those games where the collective Stormers’
defensive blanket suffocated the life and soul from the opposition.
often did the Force seriously threaten their visitors’ tryline? There
are probably more recorded instances of a nun cheekily winking at the
milkman at the convent door.
In addition, I had suggested in the
lead-up to this fourth tour match for the Capetonians that Carr’s
presence might infuse them with a new dimension on attack, given his
known mobility, deft footwork and sure hands.
And it was duly
demonstrated when both he and loose forward ally Siya Kolisi were
prominent figures in the thrilling breakout that eventually led to Peter
Grant’s try about half an hour from the end – that was the “daylight”
point in scoreboard terms from which you always sensed there would be no
return for the Force.
One of the Australian commentators rightly
branded Carr as “sensational ... a real asset on full debut”, whilst
former Springbok coach Nick Mallett in the SuperSport studio doubtless
had Carr near front of mind when he lauded the Stormers for fielding “an
inexperienced team, but one in which all understood their roles”.
smooth baptism to the 80-minute hurly-burly of Super Rugby came as a
fine tonic to a team reeling to a good degree from a sequence of
injuries to core personnel -- including infinitely more seasoned loosies
like Schalk Burger and much more recently Duane Vermeulen.
with last season’s rugged, successful No 4 lock Rynhardt Elstadt
presently operating at blindside flank in the reshuffled pack, the
injection of Carr’s pace and athleticism actually provided a decent
degree of balance to the loose trio.
Whether the “crocked” list
reduces itself over the next fortnight (the Stormers have a desperately
welcome, post-travels bye before contemplating the Cheetahs at Newlands)
or not, at least they know that in the greenhorn No 8 lies yet another
quality asset for them in the vital run-in period to the playoffs.
a slightly less assuring note, many Stormers fans would have winced at
seeing emerging, flame-haired loosehead prop Steven Kitshoff – almost a
year younger than Carr, remarkably – limping off assisted in the 62nd
Whether he is also going to require any significant time
on the sidelines remains to be seen; remember that he is intended to be a
particularly treasured ace in the Springbok under-20 pack for the
Junior World Cup to be held in his neck of the woods during June.
at least in that area the Stormers are blessed with some rather more
street-wise alternatives if necessary, with names like Deon Carstens and
Wicus Blaauw coming to mind.
Mind you, the way things have been
going from a talent-production point of view in the Western Cape, a
process in which the now-departed Rassie Erasmus clearly played a
tireless role, they will probably just keep churning out further
confident specimens who have only just discovered the primary use of
shaving foam ...*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing