In the latest issue of SA Rugby magazine, Nizaam Carr explains why he had little hesitation in agreeing to a move to the Vodacom Bulls.
After spending three seasons in England following a seven-year career at Western Province and the Stormers, Carr needed to look at his options when Wasps, suffering under the financial impact of the Covid-19 shutdown, decided not to extend his contract.
He says the Bulls’ history as the most successful South African Super Rugby team, with three victories, made it an easy decision to move to Pretoria.
‘The coronavirus made it tough for every club so I didn’t have a lot of options, but when I spoke to the Bulls, they were eager and said it would be great to have me on board and I would suit their style of rugby. I jumped at that because when you feel welcomed and valued, that is the place you want to be.
‘That’s what stood out for me. Jake White and Edgar Rathbone [Bulls CEO] were really friendly. Meeting the teammates and the staff was the cherry on the cake.’
During lockdown, the Bulls have undergone a massive rebuild under White, their new director of rugby and head coach.
He has not only brought in a fresh coaching staff, but has also made big changes to the playing staff, releasing 15 players and bringing in 13 new faces to the squad.
‘It is the first time I have worked with Jake White, but I have known about him, obviously, for all his accolades. I was in his son’s class at Bishops and I knew him, so it was quite easy talking to him because I had that prior relationship.
‘To be able to play with and learn from Trevor Nyakane and Duane Vermeulen, as World Cup winners, is special, as are guys like Gio Aplon and Cornal Hendricks. You want to be associated with the best. That brings the best out of you. They have high standards and that is the team culture that you fall into. I count myself lucky to be at such a great franchise.’
Carr has undergone his own introspection during the enforced break in the season and has been able to get a good perspective of where he is in his career and what he wants to achieve.
‘It showed me what is important: the people around you, like your wife and son. You grow closer. I enjoyed being home, but it wasn’t always easy. I am comfortable when I am playing rugby, going to training and spending time with the boys in the gym. You miss that after about a month.
‘It also gave me a better perspective on what I have achieved. It is nowhere close to what is about to come. I am only 29 and I would like to believe there is a lot of rugby left in me. I am grateful to Wasps, the Stormers and Western Province for helping me in my career and I am proud of who I have become and how the game has shaped me into the man I am today.’
*This column first appeared in the latest SA Rugby magazine, now on sale!