Veteran loose forward Nizaam Carr is inspired by former teammates Deon Fourie, Siya Kolisi and Eben Etzebeth to not give up on playing for the Springboks again, reports DEVIN HERMANUS.
The vastly experienced Carr, who can play across the back row, made his early career inroads through the Western Province and DHL Stormers ranks, where he featured prominently with double World Cup winners Kolisi and Etzebeth.
Carr made his debut for South Africa in 2014, and earned the last of his five Test caps in 2016 – six years before Fourie became the oldest Bok debutant at the age of 36. Fourie then helped the Boks win an unprecedented fourth Webb Ellis Cup in France in October.
Speaking in a Vodacom Bulls conference on Tuesday, Carr shared his national ambitions in the buildup to a blockbuster derby against the Bok-powered Sharks in Pretoria in the Vodacom URC.
“My whole career since high school is always sort of having to prove myself, and I guess that it’s like that for every other player – you want to show that even at this age that you still belong at this level,” the 32-year-old told reporters.
“A number of times, especially with my family, they say, ‘hey, you’re getting old, you’re getting bald’ and things like that. But I always want to prove that I’m capable of being at this level and outshining guys who are current Springboks.
“If that dies in you, that’s the day you should probably retire, if you don’t want to be competitive anymore and are just going through the motions.
“I’ve been a Springbok… a good example for me is Deon Fourie winning a World Cup [aged 37] this year. That is hope for a lot of us to get back in the setup, and there’s no better platform than against those guys this weekend, or any SA derby.”
Carr’s teammate Cameron Hanekom is on the shortlist to succeed Duane Vermeulen in the Bok No 8 jersey, with Jasper Wiese and the dynamic duo of Evan Roos and Francke Horn.
But, the former Wasps star believes he has enough left in the tank to keep up with the next generation of back-row bruisers as he continues to hone his craft.
Carr added: “I believe you’re never the complete package because one weekend you can be on top of your game, and then next weekend you might drop a ball because you took your eyes off it, for example.
“I’ve been raised in an environment, especially with my late father, everything has to be perfect and precise, almost to a point where you sometimes overthink it. But we all know that in today’s rugby you just have to trust your instincts, play what you see, and obviously within the system.
“I’m really excited to test myself, and a lot of younger boys – especially at the Bulls – are doing really well in my department in the loosies, so you don’t want to be that old guy where you fall behind.
“And we talk about old but if you look at Siya Kolisi, Eben and those boys, we’re all the same age, came out of the same year – Western Province U19 – and they are flying at the moment.
“That’s something that inspires me and I’m sure it inspires the whole nation.”
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