Nizaam Carr is ready to shine again after struggling with a virus during the early stages of the season.
What can you tell us about the virus that affected you earlier in the season?
“It was a bit of a mystery. I saw a number of doctors and they couldn’t quite put their finger on it, which is why I spent three days in hospital. It felt like a mixture of fever and flu, while my breathing was also affected. I went through a tough time. It obviously put me back. I didn’t have much of an off-season because of the Springbok tour and then I was sick in pre-season. I also wasn’t fit enough to play in the warm-up games, so I had to try and regain my fitness off the substitutes’ bench.”
How do you feel now?
“I feel healthy and back to my old self!”
There have been some promising glimpses from you in recent games.
“I’m getting there. I haven’t had enough starts to regain my confidence as a result of the knock-on effect of the virus. To say it’s been a great season so far would be wrong. I’m a firm believer that you play well if you regularly start matches. It’s tough to fight your way back into the side, but that is the nature of rugby. I just have to embrace the challenge. The other guys have been doing really well and I accept that one shouldn’t break combinations that are working. I prefer giving credit where it’s due rather than complaining.”
It must be important for a guy who plays the same position as an in-form Duane Vermeulen to be a team player?
“It’s difficult to get into the side because I’m competing with some of the best loose forwards in the country. If one of us slips a notch, someone else will get his nose ahead. That’s how serious the competition is. At the same time, it’s a privilege to be able to learn from world-class loosies such as Duane Vermeulen, Schalk Burger and Siya Kolisi.”
How was your experience with the Springboks in November?
“It was the best feeling ever and exceeded my expectations! I believe it will happen again; I just have to be patient and work hard to get back there.”
How difficult will it be to make the World Cup squad?
“Very! We all know how many world-class loose forwards there are in South Africa. There will probably only be five loose forwards in the 31-man squad for the World Cup. Let’s see what happens!”
How does it feel to be closing in on 50 games for the DHL Stormers?
“It’s been a rollercoaster ride, but when I look back it’s all been worthwhile. A 50th match would be a special achievement. I’m not just representing myself, but also my family and religion. It’s big for me and I know they are all proud of me.”
What have your highlights been for the DHL Stormers thus far?
“I remember my first match against the Blues at DHL Newlands like it was yesterday. The 2014 season was also massive because it was my breakthrough year and I started regularly. The match against the Cheetahs at DHL Newlands in 2012, when I tore my knee ligaments, is also significant as it played a part in shaping me as a person. It taught me the value of hard work and dedication. You also gain the perspective that everything can be taken away from you in a split second, so you should try to cherish every moment.”
How does the team feel about its Super Rugby campaign thus far?
“There’s an increasing belief we can do really well. It was a good call by management to allow us to rest the whole of last week because our bodies had been taking strain. We’re all in a good space.”
Are you finding that opponents are keeping a closer watch on you these days?
“Yup! When I get my hands on the ball these days, I immediately have a few defenders closing my space. At this level, teams analyse you closely. They know what foot you step off, how you carry the ball, how good a tackler you are, your ability on the ground, and so forth.”
How do you relax away from rugby?
“The best way to spend my free time is with family because they play a huge role in my life. They are the reason I am where I am today.”
DHL Stormers Matchday Magazine