The DHL Stormers have had a tough Vodacom Super Rugby season up till now, but many of the young players, like loose forward Nizaam Carr, have put their hands up in 2014.
Carr has fought hard for a starting place this season and now finds himself as one of just seven players to have featured in all nine of the DHL Stormers’ matches to date.
“I am really enjoying it, it’s obviously good to pick up some confidence and get some game-time,” Nizaam told the www.iamastormer.com website this week.
“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.”
The 23-year-old has played across the back row this season and he will be starting in the No.6 jersey once again this weekend – having had cameos at No.8 and as a No.7 flank.
His versatility has been a major boon for the DHL Stormers and – as one would expect – he sees plenty of value in his ability to play in any of the loose forward positions.
“The important thing for me is that I am slotting in anywhere, so for me it’s just a place open and I don’t really mind where I play,” he said. “There is always competition in the loose forwards, I even said to Cheslin (Kolbe) that I would help out at wing if need be!
“For me to get a starting berth is something that I have been wanting for a long time,” added the former West End Primary School and Bishops scholar. “I’ll slot in wherever I can to help the team out, so I am happy with the position they have selected me in.”
But playing in many positions is not new to the DHL Stormers’ newest local star and he pointed out: “I played at six and seven at school level and Under-19 and U20, so the positions are not new to me. It was actually here (at the DHL Stormers) that they made me a No.8 and started making me believe that I was a running No.8.”
Springbok star Schalk Burger was Carr’s childhood hero and, amazingly, he now finds himself battling for a spot in the DHL Stormers side with the likes of Burger and other Springboks – Siya Kolisi and Duane Vermeulen – not to mention the dynamic Deon Fourie, who has been swapping between the front and back rows.
“Schalk is still my hero,” enthused Carr, “just to grace the same rugby field as him is a really special moment for me!
“With regards to Siya Kolisi, I am playing in his role at the moment but we have a good understanding. This is sport so there will always be that competitive edge – there is no jealousy or anything like that between us… just a healthy rivalry.
“Myself and Siya actually played at the same Craven Week (against each other) and played for SA Schools together so we have walked a long path already – we really enjoy each other’s company!”
Nizaam has scored three tries this season – including two in two weeks – putting him level with fellow young gun Damian de Allende as the DHL Stormers’ top try-scorers in 2014, as the Men from the Cape look to continue their move towards adopting a more balanced approach between defence and attack.
Said Nizaam: “It’s my type of game, I enjoy it. We do pride ourselves on defence, but it’s not something totally new to us… (backline coach) Robbie Fleck has been doing his work (in terms of attack) for some time.
“I think we were always comfortable on defence and that’s where we’ve 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, which 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.”
Saturday’s match between the DHL Stormers and the Highlanders at DHL Newlands gets underway at 15h00. CLICK HERE for ticketing information!