Nizaam Carr says he has made a mental step up and is ready to start his first Springbok Test against Italy this Saturday.
Carr made his Bok debut off the bench on the Springboks' end-of-year tour in 2014, but then fell out of the national reckoning as he went through a difficult period both on and off the pitch last year.
Through hard work and determination, Carr has worked his way back into the Bok set-up, and is now set make his first start against the same opponents he had his Test debut against two years ago.
'I’ve stepped up mentally and I’m the in-form Nizaam Carr that people know. I want to be a special player again and not just a number in the team,' Carr told the Times Media Group. 'I went through a slump‚ especially in 2015. But I don’t want to dwell in the past even though 2015 was not a year to be proud of.
'I have slowly picked my game up and there are thousands of kids who want to play for the Boks. I have a responsibility to not only play for my community‚ myself and my family‚ but also for all South Africans to make them proud.'
Carr said it had been difficult for him to lift himself out of the slump in 2015, with a mysterious illness also testing his mental fortitude.
'When I fell out of the Bok squad the hunger and desire was always there‚ but there were things that I needed to look at in my life and career. I’m a big believer that if I work extremely hard in the week it will be rewarded at the weekend.
'I was very emotional about falling out of the Bok squad in 2015. It was a big year because it was a World Cup year and as a result I really struggled mentally. I took it out on my family and they could see how much it was affecting me. I’m grateful and blessed to be here again and I’m hoping to make a difference.'
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