Carr hitting top gear
Carr hitting top gearSHARE
One of the few rays of sunshine for the bottom-placed Stormers this season has been the encouraging form of versatile loose forward Nizaam Carr.
The 22-year-old was an age-group star coming through the ranks in the Cape, but a series of injuries over the last few years and the fierce loose forward competition at the Stormers have meant precious few opportunities until this season.
Although he has played most of his professional rugby at No.8, Carr's chance this year came at openside flank when Schalk Burger got injured on tour and he has impressed with his mobility, high work-rate and nose for the tryline.
Changing positions in the back row does not bother him at all, as he is happy to play anywhere in the loose trio and knows first-hand how tough it is to secure a starting role.
"I am really enjoying it, it is obviously good to pick up some confidence and get some game-time. The important thing to me is that I am slotting in anywhere, so for me it is just a place open and I don't really mind where I play.
"It took me about two or three years to get to where I am now. Injury-wise it was quite tough so I had to step over that and get my confidence up but where I am at now I am really enjoying myself.
"There is always competition in the loose forwards, I even said to Cheslin [Kolbe] if he is injured I will help out on the wing, but for me to get a starting berth is something that I have been wanting for a long time," he said.
Carr believes that his versatility is one of his strengths and explained that he is not too concerned about the number he wears on his back.
"Right now we are losing so that is the least of my worries, I just slot in wherever I can to help the team out so I am happy with the position they have selected me in.
"I have played at six and seven at school level and Under-19 and U20, so the position is not new to me. It was actually here that they made me a No.8 and started making me believe that I am a running No.8," he said.
With his boyhood hero Burger back in the starting line-up this weekend it was between Carr and Springbok flank Siya Kolisi for the No.6 jersey, and his recent form proved too good for coach Allister Coetzee to ignore at the expense of his old friend Kolisi.
"Schalk [Burger] was my childhood hero and still is, so to grace the same rugby field as him is a really special moment for me.
"With regards to Siya [Kolisi], I am in his role but we have a good understanding that it is our sport so there will be that competitive edge, so there is no hate or anything between us.
"We played at the same Craven Week and played SA Schools together so we have walked a long path, so we really enjoy each other's company," he explained.
The speedy loose forward says that the more adventurous game the Stormers have adopted this year in an attempt to find a better balance between attack and defence has suited him down to the ground.
"It is my type of game, I enjoy it. It is not new to us we have not been doing it. We do pride ourselves on defence but it is not something totally new to us, Fleckie has been doing his work.
"I think we were always comfortable on defence and that is where we always turned to. At the moment people would say that we are in bits and pieces between our attack but we are working at it and it supports my game and my role that I want to play.
"We want to attack and we are obviously enjoying it. Our intensity is high at the breakdown and going wide so it is an exciting time for us," he said.
By Michael de Vries