Nizaam Carr says Bulls ‘must be tighter’ against Northampton

Nizaam Carr, having played for English club Wasps, knows that it may not be a free-flowing encounter for the Bulls against Northampton. Photo: BackpagePix

Nizaam Carr, having played for English club Wasps, knows that it may not be a free-flowing encounter for the Bulls against Northampton. Photo: BackpagePix

Published Apr 11, 2024


Nizaam Carr turned 33 last week, and celebrated it with a fine cameo performance off the bench in the Bulls’ 59-19 hammering of Lyon at Loftus Versfeld.

Having started his senior career as a 20-year-old for Western Province in 2011, the Springbok loose forward – who has five Test caps – has almost seen it all on the rugby field.

Known for his side-stepping ability, running lines and offloads in the tackle, Carr has learnt a few short cuts as well as the years have gone by – and one that he hopes to display in Saturday’s Champions Cup quarter-final against Northampton is keeping up with flyer Kurt-Lee Arendse.

“Funnily enough, I said to him after the Lyon game that I am so happy when I play with you because as a loose forward and a guy who is getting a little bit older now, I used to chase after him,” Carr said before heading off to the UK for Saturday’s clash at Franklin’s Gardens (9pm kick-off, SA time).

“But now I just need to wait on the one side, as I know he is going to make a break on the one side and the ball will eventually get to me.

“That’s the nice thing about playing with him, as he is always beating two or three players, not just one. He is always looking for that offload and doesn’t want to die with the ball.

“But I can mention a lot of other boys as well – Canan Moodie, David Kriel – they are always looking for those offloads.

“Those are the things I like to attack from, the support play, and I base my game big time on support play and always being on the shoulder of the faster guys.”

But Carr, having played for English club Wasps for a number of years, knows that it may not be a free-flowing encounter against Northampton, like it was against Lyon.

With the expected windy and wet weather, it could become a battle of attrition, especially with a few heavy hitters such as Courtney Lawes and Lewis Ludlam in the Northampton loose trio.

“I remember Courtney Lawes tackling me on my hip flexor, and I couldn’t run after that and had to go off, so that’s not a good memory,” the Bishops and Alexander Sinton High School product said.

“I know how physical he is, but what an absolute legend. And the same with Ludlam, who has a few England caps as well – really tough, fights it out to the end, really fit. And he puts his head and body in the dark places where not any normal rugby player wants to go.

“So, if we can stop those guys from getting over the ball and poaching, it will be a good day for us.

“I would love to see tries scored like last week, where we basically ran from our own 22 and even tryline, with Kurt-Lee and the boys.

“But we are going to have to be a little bit tighter. We can’t throw big passes, unless it’s a miracle pass. The ball is wet, so you’ve got to change your catching plan and things like that.

“If it’s windy, your kicking game changes – for example, if you are going long, or contestable, or kick it out into the cheap seats.

“We’ve got some plans up our sleeves in preparing for both types of games, because we’re always adding another string to the bow … to maybe move the ball, kick the ball, play territory, take it up with the forwards and stuff like that.”

Carr was a bit sad that he had to miss Eid today with his family in South Africa, but expressed how the Islamic holy month of Ramadaan – where Muslims have to fast – had assisted him with his fitness.

“Unfortunately, my family is going to travel to Cape Town to enjoy Eid with the extended family, so I’m missing out on all the nice food, desserts and drinks,” Carr said.

“I am a bit sad about that but on the other hand I am really excited about joining the team and travelling with them.

“Ramadaan has been different for me because we did a lot of travelling and had a few games in the fast as well.

“So usually for me, I like to go to mosque at night, but this year I couldn’t do it because we’ve been overseas, (have) come back and (are) now travelling again. So, it’s been a little bit tough.

“I’ve also lost some weight, which is a good thing because I was a little chubby. I actually need a Ramadaan every year to trim and slim the body down.

“It was a different Ramadaan for me, but one I still enjoyed.”