Ramadan helps Bulls’ ‘chubby’ Carr slim down for Champions Cup last eight

Bulls player and ex-Springbok Nizaam Carr says the Ramadan's dawn to dusk fasting period helped him 'slim down the body'.

Bulls forward Nizaam Carr heads to Northampton on Saturday, 13 April for the Champions Cup quarter-finals with a place in South African rugby history on the line.

A victory for the Pretoria-based Bulls would guarantee a first South African side in the semi-finals of the tournament but Carr became a trailblazer a decade ago.

Nizaam Carr: First Muslim to represent Springboks

In November 2014, Carr, who turned 33 last Thursday, became the first Muslim to represent the now four-time Rugby World Cup-winning Springboks.

Up to 1.6% of South Africa’s 60 million population are Muslim.

“My faith is really important to me,” Carr told reporters.

“I like to go to the mosque as much as I can, during the night after training.”

Ramadan: Fasting helps Carr shed extra pounds

This week, the back-rower from Cape Town marked the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, having fasted from dawn to dusk during the period.

“I’ve lost some weight, which is a good thing as I was getting a little bit chubbier!” Carr jokingly said.

I actually need Ramadan to slim the body down.

Career highlights

Carr has had a storied career on the field, making the last of his five Springboks appearances in 2016 before joining English club Wasps and then the Bulls having come through the academy of local side the Stormers.

The versatile loose forward made more than 70 appearances for Wasps before the outfit went into administration in October 2022.

“The first start I got was in the Premiership and I won man of the match against Leicester Tigers,” Carr said.

“That one stands out the most,” he added.

Bulls travel plans make headlines

The Bulls’ travel plans to England have made headlines as the squad have been split up on eight different journeys before the game.

South African Rugby were forced to to book flights late on with the quarter-final games coming just a week after the last 16.

“Even if it’s horrible inside you can’t show it in a team sport or environment because energy is really important, you don’t want to rub off bad energy to the next guy,” Carr said.

“Whether we fly 48, 20 or 10 hours we’re ready to get on the plane and give our best on Saturday,” he added.

Lawes an ‘absolute legend’ – Carr

This weekend, former England pair Courtney Lawes and Lewis Ludlam are among the Saints’ stand-out players in between the Bulls and a famous first last-four spot.

“I remember Courtney Lawes tackling me once on my hip flexor and I couldn’t run after that so I had to go off, so that’s not a good memory I have,” Carr said.

I know how physical he is. What an absolute legend.

“The same as Ludlam, he pushes his body and puts his head in dark places. If we can stay away from those guys, stop them from poaching over the ball, it could be a good day for us,” Carr added.

By © Agence France-Presse