Young loose forward Nizaam Carr is revelling in his role as a regular starter in the DHL Stormers team.
How does it feel to finally be a regular starter for the DHL Stormers?
“I must admit, it’s pretty overwhelming because I’ve been trying to get to this point for the past three years. This is my fourth season of senior rugby. I’m really happy with the way things are going and am enjoying every moment.”
You must wish that it was under better circumstances for the team, though?
“Of course. Look, we’ve been struggling. The first half of the competition was tough, but we’ve learned from it. It was an eye-opener. You can’t take anything for granted in Super Rugby. It’s really tough. All the teams are capable of beating one another. You’ve got to be physically and mentally switched on for every game.”
Even so, you have excelled in a struggling team. That must be positive for you on an individual level.
“It’s nice when people see I’m trying my best during tough times. You’re looking to make the right decisions, run good lines, make your tackles and try to make teammates look good. I’m a team player. It will be good if people can see us excelling as a winning team.”
Are you happy playing at flank rather than your preferred position of No.8?
“Naturally I’d like to play at No 8, but I will grab any spot in the team with both hands. I’ll gladly play wing or centre if it will benefit the side. As things stand for me, it’s not about the position. I’m trying to make any jersey mine. Duane Vermeulen is the best No.8 in South Africa and has been really helpful. He’s set a good example and been a mentor for me.”
Have you been given a licence to thrill with your skill set in a team that takes particular pride in its defence?
“I was grounded in expansive rugby at Bishops and UCT. It did take a while to showcase my skill set here, but the coaches are now 100% behind me in terms of allowing me to give expression to my abilities. While I endeavour to bring something different to the game, I don’t shy away from contact. As a team the Stormers pride themselves on defence and I’d like to make the defence coach happy! I’m very adaptable.”
Have you re-set your goals now that you have performed so impressively?
“To date, my short-term goal at the beginning of every season has been to make the starting XV. I don’t think I’ve achieved that as I got my opportunity after someone else was injured. It’s still a blessing, though. In the long-term, I want to play for the Springboks. Hopefully I can make it to a training camp or get the nod for an end-of-season tour.”
Are you taking on bigger responsibilities as a role model in your community now?
“Yes. I’m one of the guys who have come through from Mitchell’s Plain in the Cape, where gangsterism is rife. Communities need role models to encourage them to fulfil their dreams. They depend on me to deliver little talks or help out with coaching. I’m willing to do that and sacrifice a lot of time. I’m an example to them that nothing is impossible.”
Are you mentally tougher having overcome the serious knee injury you suffered two seasons ago?
I was out for nine months and it took a massive mental toll. It took me the whole of last year to regain my appreciation for the game. An injury certainly puts things in perspective. You have to appreciate every opportunity you get to run on to a field, even if it’s only on the training pitch. I’ve started enjoying things again this year and am in a good space.
Isn’t it amazing that the DHL Stormers are still drawing crowds at DHL Newlands in spite of experiencing some difficult times?
“I always enjoy chatting to the supporters. We wouldn’t be where we are if it wasn’t for them. I can’t thank The Faithful enough. They’ve always got our backs and it makes our lives so much easier.”
Who was your roommate on tour and can you reveal any of his bad habits?
“Damian de Allende and I have been roommates for a few years. He snores at times, which keeps me awake!”
What do you do to relax?
“I spend time with my partner, Aaesha, and am a big family man.”
DHL Stormers Matchday Magazine