Bok flank Carr hopes to put 2015 disappointment behind him

18 November 2016 - 11:08 By Craig Ray in Florence, Italy

Flank Nizaam Carr‚ who will earn his fourth Test cap against Italy on Saturday and make his first start‚ thought he might never have the chance again. After making his Test debut off the bench against Italy and Padua in 2014‚ Carr’s Test career stalled during a mediocre 2015 season. The timing couldn't have been worse for the talented loose-forward‚ considering it was a World Cup year. But he has no issue with being left out and acknowledges that he was poor.“I’ve stepped up mentally and I’m the in-form Nizaam Carr that people know. I want to be a special player again and not just a number in the team‚” the 25-year-old Carr said.“I went through a slump‚ especially in 2015. But I don’t want to dwell in the past even though 2015 was not a year to be proud of.“I have slowly picked my game 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 also for all South Africans to make them proud.” Carr won’t use it as an excuse‚ but a mystery virus that laid him low at the beginning of the 2015‚ put him on the back foot from the outset to what should have been a continuation of the previous season’s form that earned him Test selection.As his battle for form crumbled‚ his mental attitude went south too – a fact he acknowledges now.“When I fell out of the Bok squad the hunger and desire was always there‚ but there were things that I needed to look at in my life and career‚” Carr said.“I’m a big believer that if I work extremely hard in the week will be rewarded at the weekend.“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. "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. “The illness set me back but I made a full recovery‚ so I can’t stand here and blame the virus for losing my place last year. It happened‚ it’s in the past and I’m here now‚ starting against Italy.“I had about seven to nine doctors trying to pinpoint what the illness was but they couldn’t. I had a mixture of flu and high fevers. "I was on drips and all sorts of medications and I made a full recovery from that‚ but the 2015 season didn't make full recovery.”On Saturday‚ he will lead the Boks’ breakdown effort against the rugged Italian unit. If he brings the form that made him a Bok‚ he will have a chance to reprise the role against Wales in Cardiff next week and possibly beyond.It’s a second chance and one he hopes to take. – TMG Sport

This article is reserved for Sunday Times subscribers.

A subscription gives you full digital access to all Sunday Times content.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Registered on the BusinessLIVE, Business Day or Financial Mail websites? Sign in with the same details.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00.