Carr revved up after first Test cap
“But the game was so tight, yoh, so I wasn’t so sure that I was really going to go on!”
Asked if he spotted the hole in the Italy trenches, Carr said: “Yes. Part of our gameplan is to stick to that, and I saw a bit of space and I just attacked it. It was on for a split second and I just quickly switched on. The guy actually tackled me into a position where I had to offload – there was no way I could’ve gone myself.
“As soon as I went on, Duane (Vermeulen) said to me: ‘Hey, I can see you are nervous. Just stay calm, it’s no different to the Stormers and Super Rugby level. Just go out and enjoy yourself ’. And I think after that, I really felt a bit more calm.”
The 23-year-old said that the nerves were down to the realisation of fulfilling a long-term goal that had probably come a bit sooner than expected.
And Carr’s big moment was also a historic one as he became the first Muslim rugby player to represent the Springboks.
It wasn’t all a fairytale, though, as his presence on tour meant that he would have to miss the wedding of older brother Riyaaz, which took place yesterday in Cape Town. So, his family also couldn’t be in Padova to witness his Test debut.
“I was a bit more settled after Duane spoke to me because my nerves were sky-high. You guys can obviously imagine that there is a lot of emotion involved – families, teammates, coaches, that you want to impress. I was just so happy to get such a lot of gametime on the pitch – I thought I was going to get five minutes, and I was more than happy to get even two seconds on the pitch. So, it’s really great,” Carr said.
“This is a good present for him (his brother). I hope they enjoyed it back home because all my family came over and all the friends and sat at my house watching the game.”
Carr was officially capped after the game on Saturday night, so he can now wear the Bok blazer that he has had to carry on his arm while on tour.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet. I just sat in the cloakroom now, just taking everything in. And it just feels like everything is happening so slowly. I obviously don’t want this moment to go by quickly. I want to take in as much as possible,” he said.
“It’s really indescribable. I think it’s something that I am going to remember throughout my career.”
But there is still a Test match to be played against Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday, and there is a good chance that Carr will again be at least on the bench, if not even a start if Vermeulen or Marcell Coetzee takes a breather.
Apart from his classy bit of skill to set up Reinach’s try, Carr also got stuck in on defence in his trademark unrelenting style, but admitted that the speed of the game was something he’d never experienced before.
“The rucks were very messy, but it was very physical. I mean, even the hits and the guys running at you, stuff like that. There weren’t a lot of opportunities to showcase what I’d really got and what coach asked me to do, but the one or two tackles that I had was nogal hard, very hard!” he said.
“The Italians were really tough. I think it was my quickest, fastest, most physical game I’ve ever played, and that’s from the Italians. So, I think that is what they meant about Test-level rugby. I’m really looking forward to the next one if I do get an opportunity.”