Carr combines grunt and flair

2014-11-02 12:00
Nizaam Carr (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Playing with the ball in hand brings joy to new Springbok call-up Nizaam Carr but it is his toughness that has made him an outstanding feature in Cape Town this year.

While Carr's skill-set suited him as an eighthman where he could link up with the backline, his stint as openside flanker has made him an all-round player.

"When I got to the senior level I just wanted the ball and run around and that is where I am having fun in rugby but defence win games so I had to pick my game up," Carr said ahead of the Springbok's departure for the end-of-year tour.

"Playing at six (flanker) this year really helped me a lot...where you play towards the ball, your tackle count has to be high, you have to be abrasive and aggressive."

Carr brought plenty of grunt to the party which caught the eyes of the national selectors.

And while Carr was still feeling the effects of the high of being named in the 36-member squad, he was soaking up the experience.

"In a certain extent yes (I am still floating) but I think I am past that stage, I don't want to be in this bubble and I need embrace that I have been selected," Carr said.

"It is going to be a massive learning curve for me and if I do get game time it will be a bonus.

"If I don't it's great because to be part of something this big it is a great honour and a privilege to be even part of the squad."

The 23-year-old's inclusion in the squad has already been a ground-breaking move as he is the first Muslim to be selected for South Africa.

"I am a Muslim, so I have a huge responsibility but I am not putting too much pressure on myself and rugby is rugby and we speak the same language at the end of the day," he said.

"For me it is all about the enjoyment, I don't put myself up there and if it doesn't happen I am disappointed."

Although Carr was still a relatively young his career took an early knock just as he made his breakthrough at senior level.

Cape Town-born player made it through the junior ranks at Western Province before making his Currie Cup debut in 2011.

Carr ran out in his first Super Rugby match the following year before a knee injury sidelined him for the rest of the year.

He bounced back in 2013 where he continued to impress both for the Stormers in Super Rugby and Western Province in their Currie Cup campaign.

This year saw Carr earning a regular spot at openside flanker in Super Rugby, while he was crucial at eighthman for Western Province in their title-winning run.

Carr had a sneaky suspicion that he would be rewarded with a Bok call-up after a stellar season and only found out on Monday that his dream had indeed come true.

"On Monday morning I had a good feeling that it was going to come because throughout the year people have been telling me 'you can make it' then you start believing it."

Read more on:    springboks  |  nizaam carr  |  johannesburg  |  rugby

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