Former Springbok captain Corné Krige believes Nizaam Carr can make the desired impact on the end-of-year tour. BRENTON CHELIN reports.
Carr has enjoyed a season to remember in the Western Cape, where he made his breakthrough during the second half of the Super Rugby campaign, before stealing the headlines with a string of consistently impressive showings in the Currie Cup.
On Monday his form was rewarded with a call-up to the Springbok squad for the end-of-year tour. Carr, at 1.84m and 102kg, is not the archetypal Bok loose forward, where size does matter. His selection, along with the likes of Warren Whiteley and Jaco Kriel represents a change in selection criteria from Heyneke Meyer, with form trumping physical stature.
Krigé, who played 39 Tests and captained the Boks 18 times, believes Carr's selection is just reward for his performances this year.
'He's had a phenomenal season and it's great to see that when guys do have a great season in Currie Cup, they're actually rewarded for that,' Krige told SARugbymag.co.za. 'He's been a real standout for Western Province, even in the final playing with an injured hip. It shows he's a man for the big moment, and hopefully he'll make that step-up to Test rugby.'
Carr will travel to the northern hemisphere as an understudy to Duane Vermeulen, who has been one of, if not the, best No 8s in world rugby at present. While Vermeulen, with his size and physicality, is a player best-suited to conditions that'll be encountered in November, Carr's skills could be undermined should the expected inclement weather materialise.
However, Krige believes there's still a place for Carr in the Bok side, perhaps as the tour wears on, with Tests against Italy and a weakened Wales team providing the perfect opportunity to give him a taste of Test rugby.
'I think Vermeulen definitely needs some rest. He can't play all the games on tour. You've got to give him a breather, and let Nizaam play at No 8 when the opportunity arises.'
'I think he's different to any of the loose forwards that we have. He's not all about brute force like Vermeulen, Flo and Willem Alberts. He brings a bit of flair and a lot of skill to the game.
'You always need skill on the rugby field, whether it's wet or not. He's shown that he is a big defender and he carries the ball well, but he also brings that little something extra.'
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