Carr ready to re­launch ‘Boks bid against Italy

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

FLORENCE: South Africa’s Nizaam Carr is ready to show thou­sands of Spring­bok hope­fuls what it means to pull on the green and gold jer­sey when he lines up, out of po­si­tion, against Italy in Florence.

De­scribed as one of the most ex­cit­ing young prospects of re­cent years, Carr made his­tory when he be­came the squad’s first Mus­lim player on his maiden call-up in 2014, when he made his de­but in a 22-6 win over Italy. But a dis­as­trous 2015 he blamed on a de­bil­i­tat­ing and mys­tery virus, as well as other is­sues, meant he dropped off the radar and no­tably missed pos­si­ble se­lec­tion for the 2015 World Cup.

The 25-year-old is now back “in-form” af­ter com­ing off the bench in a 37-21 loss to Eng­land to earn a place in Allister Coet­zee’s start­ing XV against the Az­zurri in Florence to­day. Af­ter los­ing for the first time in a decade to Eng­land at Twick­en­ham last week­their fifth test re­verse in six out­ings-the wounded ‘Boks are out for re­demp­tion.

And Carr, de­spite not play­ing at his pre­ferred No 8, wants to show he fully de­serves just his fourth cap.

“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,” Carr said in Florence on Thurs­dady. “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.” Carr said he had “seven to nine” doc­tors prob­ing, in vain, the virus that com­pounded his night­mare year in 2015.

But he added: “The ill­ness was when I fell back but I made a full re­cov­ery so I can’t stand here and blame the virus for los­ing my place.

“It hap­pened, it’s in the past and I’m here now, start­ing against Italy.

I’ve stepped up men­tally and I’m the in­form Nizaam Carr that peo­ple know. “I slowly picked 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 for all South Africans to make them proud.”

Carr re­placed Lood de Jager for the fi­nal 12 min­utes at Twick­en­ham, and did enough to im­press Coet­zee. With lock Eben Etze­beth ruled out of the match due to con­cus­sion, Pi­eter-Steph du Toit will re­turn to the sec­ond row af­ter play­ing as flanker against Eng­land.

Carr will form a new back row with Willem Al­berts mov­ing to blind­side af­ter op­er­at­ing at open­side last week and War­ren Whiteley re­tain­ing his place at No 8.

“I’ve been blessed to be able to able to play No 8 and No 6, al­though I 100 pe cent pre­fer eighth­man,” said Carr.

“I have to adapt my game be­cause I can’t be stand­ing out wide and play­ing that link­ing game I do as a No 8.

“I need to be at the break­down first be­cause Italy will look to make those leg tack­les and get the stealer in over the ball.”

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